NATO Chief: Ukraine Should Be Allowed to Use Western Missiles Against Russian Mainland

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - JULY 12: Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky (L) and NATO Secretar
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Western nations should end their prohibition on Ukraine using their missiles to attack targets within the Russian mainland, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has argued.

With the United States reportedly reconsidering its ban on Ukraine using American weapons against targets within Russia, Jens Stoltenberg said that the escalation is justified and likely necessary in order for Kyiv to deter further aggression from Moscow as it seeks to gain further ground within the former Soviet state.

“I think the time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they are put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine because, especially now when a lot the fighting is going on in Kharkiv, close to the border,” Stoltenberg told The Economist.

“To deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves”.

The outgoing NATO chief argued that Russia is waging a war of aggression. Therefore Ukraine has the right to defend itself “and that includes also striking targets on Russian territory.”

“It is legal, it is legitimate, and we are helping Ukraine with upholding that right and that should include the ability to also strike targets on Russian territory,” the Norwegian politician said.

Earlier this month, the UK became the first NATO nation to sign off on Ukraine using their weapons, including Storm Shadow missiles, to make strikes on targets within Russia. Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that Ukraine “absolutely has the right to strike back at Russia.”

The announcement from London represented an uncharacteristic break with Washington, with President Biden saying that the U.S. would not allow its equipment to strike Russia to “avoid World War III”.

However, according to a report this week from the New York Times, there is a push being led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reverse the prohibition and allow Kyiv to use American weapons within Russian territory.

Victoria Nuland, who stepped down from her role as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in March, has also openly advocated for the policy switch, telling ABC earlier this month: “I think if the attacks are coming directly from over the line in Russia, that those bases ought to be fair game.”

Nuland, who has been accused by Moscow and others of playing a “key role” in fomenting the 2014 Euromaidan protests which led to the ousting of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych, added: “I think it is time to give the Ukrainians more help hitting these bases inside Russia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, told the Times that the stipulation from Washington not to use American missiles against Russia gave the Kremlin a “huge advantage”.

“This is part of our defence,” he said “How can we protect ourselves from these attacks? This is the only way.”

There has been some pushback among NATO allies against the idea, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz steadfastly refusing to provide Ukraine with the long-range Taurus missiles over concerns that if German-made weaponry were used against targets within Russia, it could spark a direct conflict between Moscow and the major European powers.

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