Germany will make a decision regarding the transfer of long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine in the coming weeks, German Defence Minister said. The United States is close to supplying long-range ATACMS systems this fall, The WSJ said.
Germany and the United States are about to finalise a decision to transfer Taurus long-range missiles and ATACMS long-range missile systems to Ukraine before the end of the current year. Kyiv has asked for such weapons before, but Berlin and Washington are still looking into the question fearing that Ukraine may use such missiles to attack the Russian territory.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said that a decision on the transfer of Taurus missiles will be made in the next one to two weeks.
"Germany should allow itself this prudence, even if it is difficult for our Ukrainian friends to understand,” he said at the first Westphalian Peace Conference in Münster, Zeit reports.
Pistorius said that there were about 500 Taurus in German service, but a half of them did not meet modern requirements, whereas the other half required technical and software upgrades.
Reports about the intention of the US authorities to transfer long-range ATACMS systems to Kyiv have recently appeared in Western media, but the White House has not confirmed them yet.
The Wall Street Journal, citing representatives in the Joe Biden administration, said that Washington took a new look at such deliveries that could materialise already this autumn. The US wants to intensify the Ukrainian counteroffensive as it slowly advances in the south.
Taurus cruise missiles are capable of speeding up to 900 km/h and have a firing range of up to 500 kilometres. They can carry up to 480 kg of explosives. If transferred to Kyiv, they will become Ukraine's longest-range weapon. Taurus missiles are capable of flying at an extremely low altitude of about 50 meters, which interferes with their radar detection. According to T-Online, Germany has 600 Taurus, but only 150 of them are now ready for use.
ATACMS is an American-made guided missile with a range of about 300 km. They can be launched with the help of HIMARS MLRS systems that Ukraine already has, but only one at a time. Each such missiles costs $1.5 million.
There is no available information about how many ATACMS missiles the Pentagon has at its disposal. Lockheed Martin has produced approximately 4,000 such missiles since the beginning of their production. The US currently makes about 500 ATACMS missiles every year, The Washington Post said.
Commenting on the possible transfer of long-range missiles to Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would thus be forced to push the threat from its borders further away.
Ukraine would not have been able to carry out the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea alone