Espreso. Global

Taurus for Ukraine or not yet? Bundestag votes against delivery

17 January, 2024 Wednesday

The Bundestag rejected a proposal from the CDU/CSU group to immediately deliver Taurus to Ukraine as pressure grows on Germany to send long-range missiles


For months there has been a debate in Germany whether the government should send long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. The CDU/CSU opposition parties, who are in favor of this, are now increasing the pressure.

The opposition leader Friedrich Merz introduced a motion on Jan. 17 for a resolution in the Bundestag putting the issue of Taurus supplies to a vote.

"We consider the situation in Ukraine to be increasingly critical," Merz said.

The Bundestag was to vote on a motion from the Union to “finally and immediately give Ukraine operational Taurus”. And because the Union has requested a roll-call vote, it was forcing the members of the SPD, Greens and FDP coalition to publicly show their stance and possibly vote against their own chancellor.

Bundestag rejects Taurus motion by the CDU/CSU parliamentary group

In the debate about the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, the Bundestag opposed corresponding demands from the CDU and CSU. 

A motion from the Union parliamentary group, which expressly calls on the federal government to deliver Taurus, was rejected by the majority on Wednesday evening.

MPs from the Greens and FDP, who have been pushing for such a delivery in the coalition for a long time, justified their rejection by the fact that the Union's request was linked to a plenary debate on the annual report of the military commissioner.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the FDP parliamentarian Nils Gründer explained: "Of course the FDP parliamentary group is in favor of the delivery of Taurus, but I find it weak that we are carrying out this debate today on the back of the concerns of our soldiers ."

Other MPs said the main reason why representatives of the ruling coalition, despite previous calls for the delivery of Taurus missiles, did not support this project is that it was submitted by the opposition. 

Representatives of the Greens and the Free Democrats viewed voting for the "opposition project" as a "betrayal of coalition principles" rather than support for Ukraine. However, in their speeches, all representatives of the coalition emphasized support for Ukraine as a "strategic" necessity for the Germans themselves.

Pressure grows on Germany to send missiles for Ukraine

Berlin has refused to give Ukraine the air-launched Taurus cruise missiles that Kyiv requested back in May 2023. Olaf Scholz is being criticized by the opposition for his refusal to provide Ukraine with this effective weapon in its defense against Russia, but apparently he is not under pressure from the USA.

German media report that the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine was not the topic of the conversation between Scholz US President Joe Biden on Tuesday. 

“President Biden and I agree,” Scholz announced via the short message service X, “we want to continue to support Ukraine financially, humanitarian and military.”

Scholz's stance on the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles appears to have remained unchanged. The Taurus missile is launched from fighter aircraft, is filled with explosives, and is considered particularly penetrating and precise. Because of their long range, Ukraine would at least theoretically be able to use them to attack Russian territory. Although Great Britain and France also provide Ukraine with cruise missiles, Scholz maintains his rejection, saying that Germany should not directly become a war party.

Can Ukraine still get the long-range missiles from Germany? 

Military and political observers say that the Bundestag's decision is not a final "no," as a second attempt has not been ruled out, but this time from the coalition to vote for an appeal to the chancellor.

Or there is a possibility of a direct decision by Scholz or Defense Minister Boris Pistorius to hand over the missiles.

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