German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius on Thursday again ruled out supplying Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles, saying it was “not a top priority” right now.
Ukraine asked Germany in late May to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface cruise missiles which have a range in excess of 500 kilometres (310 miles), but the government has so far rebuffed the request.
“We continue to believe that this is not our top priority right now,” Pistorius said during a visit to a mountain infantry brigade in Bavaria.
The concerns about sending “special range” missiles to Ukraine “are obvious”, Pistorius said.
“Our American allies are not delivering these cruise missiles either,” he added.
After some initial hesitation, Germany has drastically ramped up its support for Ukraine and is now the second-biggest supplier of military assistance to Kyiv after the United States.
But like Washington, Berlin remains opposed to sending weapons to Kyiv that could reach inside nuclear-armed Russia, potentially widening the conflict that started with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Pistorius stressed that Germany was playing a leading role in helping Ukraine with “air defence, training support, engineering and armoured vehicles”.
“This is our first priority, our core competency,” the minister said, adding that he saw “no urgent need for a decision” on the Swedish-German Taurus weapon system.
France last month announced it would join Britain in supplying SCALP/Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, which have a range of over 250 kilometres.