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Ukraine asked Germany to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles: Ministry

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Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles that have a range of in excess of 500 kilometers, Germany’s defense ministry told AFP on Saturday.

“We have a received a request from the Ukrainian side in recent days,” a ministry spokesman said, without providing further details.

The request comes as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive in an effort to wrestle back territory seized by Russia since Moscow invaded its neighbor in February 2022, sparking the biggest conflict on European soil since World War II.

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The missiles, produced by a Germany-Swedish joint venture Taurus Systems, would allow Ukraine to strike well inside Russia with their range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).

The United States and other Western countries providing arms to Ukraine have up to now been cautious on giving Kyiv weapons that could reach inside nuclear-armed Russia, potentially widening the conflict.

Previously seen as reticent on supplying weapons, Germany has become the second-biggest contributor of military assistance to Ukraine after the United States.

It is currently preparing its biggest-yet military aid package, including anti-missile systems, 30 additional Leopard 1 tanks, more than 100 armored combat vehicles and more than 200 surveillance drones.

But it has so far been cautious on the issue of fighter jets and air-to-surface missiles.

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