Ukraine War: Will a ring exchange solve the Taurus problem?

Ukraine War: Will a ring exchange solve the Taurus problem?

In terms of domestic politics, the dispute over the Taurus could become a testing point. Coalition partners are angry, allies are annoyed. Now Great Britain is bringing a barter deal into play.

In view of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ongoing resistance, Great Britain is now joining the debate about supplying Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Foreign Minister David Cameron expressed his determination to “work closely with our German partners to help Ukraine.” Cameron also believes a ring exchange is possible, which could allay Scholz’s concerns about the arms deliveries.

In such an exchange, Germany would give Taurus cruise missiles to Great Britain – and London, in turn, would deliver further Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine. Germany could thus indirectly support Ukraine without the long-range Taurus cruise missiles being delivered to the war zone. “We are prepared to look at all options to achieve the maximum effect for Ukraine,” Cameron said. But he “will not give any details and will tell our opponents what we are planning.”

Scholz rejects the delivery of the Taurus missiles with a range of 500 kilometers to Ukraine because he fears that this could drag Germany into the war. Germany “couldn’t do what the British and French were doing in terms of targeting and accompanying targeting,” he said, justifying his rejection. This was taken by some as a sign that Scholz did not trust the Ukrainians to use the missiles responsibly.

Cameron dispels doubts

Cameron rejected Scholz’s concerns that the delivery of cruise missiles could lead to an escalation of the war. It is “absolutely possible to place restrictions on the use of these weapons to ensure that they do not in any way contribute to escalation. And they do not,” he said. Great Britain trusts Ukraine’s corresponding assurances. They are satisfied with the arrangements they have made.

A Taurus ring exchange has been thought about for a long time. According to dpa information, there were already considerations in January about supplying Taurus rockets from the Bundeswehr to NATO partners such as Great Britain and France. According to media reports, Great Britain had already offered weeks earlier to give Ukraine more of its Storm Shadow missiles in return.

Traffic light coalition split

The Green Party politician Anton Hofreiter called for people to accept a ring exchange offer. The best solution would be a direct Taurus delivery, he told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “But before Ukraine doesn’t get any more cruise missiles, exchanging rings is a possibility.” Scholz shouldn’t “stand in the way of that.”

The Union, on the other hand, thinks little of it. Group deputy Johann Wadephul (CDU) told the “Rheinische Post” that everything must be done to prevent a Ukrainian defeat. “This includes delivering the best system and that is the Taurus.” No exchange of rings could replace it in terms of range, precision and penetrating power.

The traffic light coalition is also internally divided in the Taurus debate. This is likely to become apparent next week, when the Union wants to submit another motion in the Bundestag calling on the federal government to hand over the extensive weapons system to Ukraine “immediately”. The CDU chairman Friedrich Merz and CSU boss Markus Söder are particularly committed to this. However, there are signs that this proposal could also be supported by the FDP and the Greens.

However, there are also signs of support for Scholz’s course from within the Union’s ranks. Former candidate for chancellor Armin Laschet told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” and “Focus Online”: “I think the Chancellor’s fundamental position of acting carefully and prudently so as not to become a war party is correct.” The importance of Taurus deliveries for the course of the war is exaggerated. “I think it is much more important that we actually deliver the weapons and ammunition we have already promised to Ukraine and more quickly. You have to rely on that,” said Laschet.

SPD parliamentary group deputy Dirk Wiese also sees support in the Union for the Chancellor’s stance. The majority of citizens support the Chancellor’s decision, he told the “Rheinische Post”. “There are also many members of the CDU and CSU, which is confirmed again and again in personal conversations in the constituency.” The traffic light coalition will reject the Union proposal in the Bundestag. The SPD defense politician Andreas Schwarz accused the Union in the “Tagesspiegel” of wanting to “use the Taurus to destroy the coalition.”

The Union had already submitted a similar proposal to the Bundestag two weeks ago – but it failed at the time. From the traffic light coalition, only the chairwoman of the Defense Committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, voted in favor. The FDP politician has already announced that she will also approve the new proposal.

Special session on the Taurus wiretapping affair

Before the vote, Scholz will answer questions from MPs in the government survey on Wednesday. It is to be expected that this will also be about the Taurus deliveries. The Defense Committee will meet on Monday for a special meeting on the Taurus wiretapping affair. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is scheduled to speak here.

The CDU defense expert Henning Otte expects the SPD politician to clarify whether German soldiers would be needed in the Ukraine in the event of a Taurus delivery. Otte told the “Rheinische Post” and the Bonn “General-Anzeiger” that, in contrast to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the air force leadership had made it clear that it was not necessary to deploy German soldiers here. “So we should be able to deliver,” emphasized Otte. Pistorius must clarify this contradiction.

Source: Stern

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