Lots of Talks, Few Missiles

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The Biden administration is advocating for the U.S. to send long-range missiles to Ukraine, if the funding passes. Meanwhile, France’s President Macron has discussed the formation of a missile alliance, but Germany’s Chancellor Scholz is still withholding the German long-range Taurus missiles. Britain and France have already announced plans to send comparable Storm Shadow and Scalp long-range missiles to Ukraine.

As the French President convened a critical assembly of European leaders to deliberate the escalating situation in Ukraine, a stark image of an increasingly defiant Russia was presented. During the Paris gathering in late February 2024, the French President emphasized the importance of Russia’s defeat for the stability and security of Europe, as he reported a hardening of Russian stances both domestically and in the conflict zone.

Despite the absence of a unified stance on deploying Western ground forces to Ukraine, the President emphasized the necessity of considering all options to prevent a Russian victory.

Leaders from nearly 25 European nations, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda, were present at the conference. The United States and Canada also participated, signaling a transatlantic unity in addressing the crisis.

At the conference, President Macron announced a new Missile Coalition, dedicated to providing Ukraine with an arsenal of medium and long-range missiles and bombs for strategic operations. This marks a determined effort to intensify support for Ukraine and to expedite actions. The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, responded cautiously, warning that the deployment of Western troops to Ukraine would not serve the interests of those nations.

Russians Go Hypersonic

While Germany hesitates to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine, Ukrainian officials reported the unsettling deployment of a Russian hypersonic missile, a technology purportedly difficult to intercept. According to the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, debris from a recent attack indicated the use of a Zircon hypersonic cruise missile, marking a concerning development in the nearly two-year-old conflict. In related news, the Biden administration is reportedly planning to enhance Ukraine’s military capabilities with advanced long-range ballistic missiles, a significant step up from the medium-range systems previously supplied.

No Tauruses, For Now

Chancellor Scholz defended Germany’s stance against sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, citing concerns over their long range and the potential necessity for German Bundeswehr troop involvement, which could be interpreted as entering the conflict. Despite the pressure to increase support, Scholz remains firm on Germany’s non-combatant status.

Contradicting the Chancellor’s position, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann of the Free Democratic Party argued that German troops are not required on Ukrainian soil for the operation of Taurus missiles, challenging Scholz’s claims and advocating for greater support for Ukraine amidst the intensifying conflict. Scholz, on the other hand, suggested that the debate around Taurus missiles distracts from Ukraine’s immediate military needs, particularly the acute shortage of ammunition.

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