Berlin contemplating Taurus missile swap for Kyiv

In October, the German government rejected a request by Kyiv submitted in May 2023 to supply it with Taurus cruise missiles on the grounds that the missiles' range was too long. But according to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Olaf Scholz is now considering an offer from the UK which has been on the table for several weeks: Germany could supply Taurus missiles to Nato partners who would then export similar weapons systems to Ukraine in exchange. A good idea?

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Take responsibility now

The Süddeutsche Zeitung is not convinced by the swap idea:

“The German government can no longer be accused of not doing much for Ukraine militarily. However, the ring exchange is a means of evading responsibility, which was also the case when it came to supplying armoured personnel carriers and battle tanks. Ukraine received support, but initially not the best material. In the end, it usually got that too - but often too late. The chancellor should now fulfil the leadership role that he claims for Germany in supporting Ukraine. That means: deliver Taurus!”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Better less bang than none at all

The British-French models can't quite match the Taurus missiles in terms of range and accuracy, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung points out:

“But less bang is exactly what Berlin wants. And the missiles would not come from Germany either. Nevertheless, the Bundeswehr depots would be somewhat depleted after the exchange. Like [FDP politician and chairwoman of the defence committee] Strack-Zimmermann, you might see this 'ring-around-the-rosie' game as completely crazy. Of course, the Ukrainians will say: better less bang than none at all.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Is Germany keeping a back door open?

Rzeczpospolita is suspicious of Germany's hesitations over the Taurus delivery:

“Berlin did not say no, but it has delayed its decision. This has been the standard tactic used by the Olaf Scholz government since the start of the Russian invasion. In the end, however, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled howitzers and Leopard tanks were sent to the front. With the Taurus, however, it's a different story. ... The question remains as to whether German's reticence over the Taurus isn't based on the fear that this would make it more difficult to re-establish relations with Moscow after the war.”