German lawmakers reject motion to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine

German lawmakers approved further military support for Ukraine on Thursday, including long-range weapon systems, almost two years after Russia’s invasion, but rejected a call by the opposition to deliver Taurus cruise missiles to Kyiv.

Germany is the second-biggest donor of military aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz has resisted domestic and foreign pressure to supply the Taurus missiles, fearing an international escalation of the conflict.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s Russia is and will remain the greatest security threat to Europe for the foreseeable future,” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told the Bundestag lower house, adding Germany would counter it “with all our strength.”

A majority of lawmakers voted for a motion put by Social Democrat Scholz’s coalition, also comprising the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), which committed to delivering “additional long-range weapon systems and ammunition.” It made no specific mention of Taurus.

The fudge on the motion’s wording, which some lawmakers argue could only mean Taurus missiles, has been the subject of contention.

Raising the pressure on Scholz, the conservative opposition put down a motion explicitly calling for the delivery of the cruise missiles which could give Ukraine the capability to cause significant damage deeper within Russian-occupied territory.

Highlighting divisions within Scholz’s awkward coalition, the FDP head of the parliamentary defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, voted for the opposition motion, as, she said, it could not be misunderstood.

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