« Deputy spokesperson of the German government Christiane Hoffmann said that Chancellor Olaf Scholz believed it was ‘crucial’ that the country was not dragged into the Ukraine conflict, when ask about future deliveries of Taurus missiles during a press briefing in Berlin on Friday.
Asked what Scholz meant by having to ‘pay attention to what the constitution tells us’ when it came to supplying missiles, she replied ‘I would not want to interpret the words any further now’.
« He has pointed out that this constitutionality has to be upheld, and we have to wait for that, » she said. « He has said that we need a constant and renewed ‘way out’ as to what we can actually deliver to Ukraine, and he has also indicated once again that it is also crucial for him that Germany must not be dragged into this conflict and that this conflict is not extended. »
Kiev has called on Berlin to supply the missiles and some German ministers are reportedly supportive of the idea, although the chancellor said on Thursday that he had to ‘ensure there is no escalation of the war’, with some reports highlighting concerns that Ukraine could use them to target Russian territory.
« From our side, there is no new status and nothing additional to report », added Foreign Office spokesperson Kathrin Deschauer.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Western nations of escalating the conflict with weapons deliveries to Kiev.
In response to Ukrainian claims of a Russian attack on a village in Kharkov, Hoffmann said it was condemned in the ‘strongest possible terms’.
« Targeted attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are a serious violation of international humanitarian law. We condemn them in the strongest terms and call on Russia to immediately stop the senseless killing and respect international humanitarian law, » she added.
The strike in the eastern Ukrainian town of Hroza reportedly saw a cafe and a grocery store hit by a missile during a soldier’s funeral, according to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office reported at least 51 fatalities and six others injured.
However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov reiterated Moscow’s policy of not targeting civilian sites, and claimed that Russian strikes ‘are carried out against military infrastructure, places where military personnel and representatives of the military leadership are concentrated’.
Moscow launched a military offensive in Ukraine in late February 2022 after recognising the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), claiming that Kiev had failed to guarantee their special status under the 2014 Minsk Agreements, and urging Ukraine to declare itself officially neutral and give assurances that it would never join NATO.
Kiev denounced the Russian action as an invasion. Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky imposed martial law throughout the country, announcing a general mobilisation, while the EU and the US imposed several rounds of sanctions on Moscow. »