Germany says it has received an official request from Ukraine to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles, which would allow Kiev to strike well inside the Russian territory with their range of more than 500 kilometers.
The German defense ministry said Saturday that it had “received a request from the Ukrainian side in recent days.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested the missiles during his trip to Berlin earlier in May, German media outlets reported.
The Taurus missile can deliver a warhead weighing nearly half a ton, roughly the same as UK-made Storm Shadow cruise missiles, against a fortified target up to 310 miles (about 500 kilometers) away. The missile is launched from a fighter jet.
The Russian capital, Moscow, lies 280 miles (about 450 kilometers) from the border with Ukraine.
German political scientist Mattia Nelles said Ukraine has promised not to strike targets inside Russia. However, he said, this extra range worried Germany’s leadership.
“There are unresolved questions regarding sharing sensitive targeting data and more importantly the political question of whether the German government is willing to provide Ukraine with potent weapons with which it could strike Moscow,” he said.
Kiev has formerly used Storm Shadow to strike Russian supply depots and command posts deep behind the frontline in Russian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine since May.
Russia also said earlier this month that Ukraine used Britain’s Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles to strike civilian targets in the Russian-controlled territory.
It has constantly warned the West against providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles, saying the move will escalate the war.
The West, however, kept providing Ukraine with military equipment worth tens of billions of dollars since Russia began its military campaign in Ukraine in February last year.