The war in Ukraine may be on the precipice of expanding into uncharted territory as NATO members France and Poland stated publicly that Kyiv was allowed to use their missiles to strike targets within Russia, prompting warnings from the Kremlin of a full-on war with the West.

Following controversial comments from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who said over the weekend that Ukraine should be free to use Western-supplied weapons to attack sites inside Russia, both Paris and Warsaw have come out in support of the apparent escalation in the war.

During an interview on Radio ZET, Polish Defence Minister Cezary Tomczyk said that Ukraine “can fight as they want”, saying that Warsaw will not apply any restrictions to Kyiv on the use of Polish-supplied weapons against Russian targets.

“We decided to help Ukraine in the conflict, Ukraine was brutally attacked, so it has the right to defend itself as it deems appropriate,” Tomczyk said.

Meanwhile, speaking on the final day of his state visit to Germany on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron also argued that Ukraine should be given dispensation to use Western-supplied weapons against certain targets within Russia, namely areas from which Moscow uses to launch attacks on Ukraine.

“We think that we should allow them to neutralise military sites where missiles are fired, from where… Ukraine is attacked,” Macron said according to France24, but added: “We should not allow them to touch other targets in Russia, and obviously civilian capacities”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was slightly more circumspect. Still, he said he had no legal objections to Macron’s view: “Ukraine has every possibility under international law for what it is doing. That has to be said explicitly… I find it strange when some people argue that it should not be allowed to defend itself and take measures that are suitable for this.”

Amid reports that top White House officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, were lobbying for President Biden to lift his prohibition on Ukraine using American-supplied missiles to strike targets within Russia, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday there was “no change at this point, we don’t encourage or enable the use of U.S. supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.”

The debate was sparked over the weekend by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, who argued that the success of Russia in the conflict was in part a result of Kyiv being prevented by Washington and elsewhere from using Western-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia, saying: “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.”

This sparked furious rebukes from Moscow, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arguing that the Norwegian politician had overstepped his authority as the head of the supposedly defensive alliance by suggesting strikes against Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also warned of the possibility of the proxy war expanding to a Europe-wide conflict if Western missiles are used to attack his country.

“This constant escalation can lead to serious consequences. If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the US behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons? Hard to say. Do they want global conflict?” Putin said on Tuesday according to state media RT.

“These representatives of NATO countries, especially in Europe, especially in small countries, must be aware of what they are playing with,” the Russian leader continued, ominously noting that many of those countries have “a small territory and a very dense population” in a thinly veiled nuclear war threat.

The NATO Secretary-General’s comments have also drawn criticism from within the alliance, with Deputy Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini demanding that either Stoltenberg retract his comments and apologise or “resign” from his post.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was also critical of the NATO chief, saying: “I don’t know why Stoltenberg says such a thing. You have to be very careful… I recommend more caution.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: or e-mail to: