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Germany accuses Putin of instigating discord amid Taurus missile discussion leak

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Germany on Sunday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to sow disunity with the wiretap leak of a confidential German army discussion on the Ukraine war, at a time when Berlin is under pressure to supply the Taurus missile to Kyiv.

A 38-minute recording of the talks was posted online late Friday on Russian social media, with the participants discussing the possible use of German-made Taurus missiles and their potential impact.

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The discussions also covered the use of long-range missiles provided to Kyiv by France and Britain.

“It is about using this recording to destabilise and unsettle us,” said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, adding that he “hoped that Putin will not succeed.”

“It is part of an information war that Putin is carrying out,” he added.

Pistorius said he was not aware of any further leaks at the army.

He added that he would await the result of a military probe into the case to decide what consequences to draw.

Kyiv has long been clamouring for Germany to provide it with Taurus missiles, which can reach targets up to 500 kilometres (about 300 miles) away.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has so far refused to send the missiles, fearing that it would lead to an escalation of the conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia.

The acquisition of German Taurus missiles would provide a massive boost for Ukraine as Kyiv struggles to fend off Russia’s invasion.

France and Britain have supplied Kyiv with SCALP or Storm Shadow missiles, both of which have a range of about 250 kilometres.

But Scholz has said that Germany could not justify matching British and French moves in sending long-range missiles to Ukraine and supporting the weapon system’s deployment.

“This is a very long-range weapon, and what the British and French are doing in terms of targeting and supporting targeting cannot be done in Germany,” Scholz said, without specifying exactly what he meant.

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Britain denied that it had any direct involvement in operating the missiles.

“Ukraine’s use of Storm Shadow and its targeting processes are the business of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

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