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France’s Macron urges a green light for Ukraine to strike targets inside Russia with Western weapons

The French president joined the NATO chief in pushing for a policy change that could change the face of the situation. the war in Ukraine — allowing kyiv to strike military bases in Russia with sophisticated means long range weapons provided by Western partners.

The question of whether Ukraine should be allowed to hit targets on Russian soil with Weapons supplied by the West has been a delicate issue since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022.

Western leaders have mostly hesitated to take the plunge because it goes against the risk of causing Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly warned that direct Western involvement could put the world on a path to nuclear conflict.

But the war has recently gone Russia’s way, with Kremlin forces exploiting Ukraine’s postwar shortage of troops and munitions. long delay in US military aidand Western Europe’s inadequate military production slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield.

Russian missiles and bombs hit Ukrainian military positions and civilian areas, including the power grid. Ukraine faces its toughest test of the war, and getting its hands loose on long-range weapons could trigger a response and upend the Kremlin.

Macron said France’s position is: “We think we must allow (Ukraine) to neutralize the (Russian) military sites from which the missiles are fired.”

“If we tell (the Ukrainians) that you do not have the right to reach the point from which the missiles are fired, we are in effect telling them that we are supplying you with weapons, but you cannot defend yourself” , declared Macron on Tuesday evening. on an official visit to Germany.

His remarks come a day after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged alliance members to lift some of the restrictions on Ukraine’s use of Western weapons.

“The right of self-defense includes striking legitimate targets outside Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a NATO meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Monday.

Already at the beginning of May, Moscow had interpreted as a threat British Foreign Minister David Cameron’s comment that Ukraine could use long-range British weapons, such as the Storm Shadow cruise missile, to retaliate against Russia.

That, along with Macron’s comments that he is not ruling out sending troops to Ukraine, prompted Russia to announce it would hold out. exercises involving tactical nuclear weapons. Russia also warned the British government that its decision could lead to reprisals against British military installations and equipment on Ukrainian soil or elsewhere.

Leaders choose their words carefully. Macron stressed that only Russian bases used to launch missiles against Ukraine should be considered legitimate targets, not other Russian bases or civilian infrastructure.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speaking alongside Macron, was, as usual, more reserved and evasive, emphasizing that Ukraine “is authorized to defend itself” under international law.

Scholz’s spokesman, Steffen Hebestreit, clarified Wednesday that the chancellor meant that Ukraine’s defense “is not limited to its territory.” He refused to specify what the agreements with Ukraine stipulate on weapons supplied by Germany, insisting that they are confidential.

Scholz insisted on avoiding steps that could end up drawing NATO into a battlefield confrontation with Russia. Other Western leaders have expressed similar fears of a creeping, high-stakes escalation.

His concerns are shared in Washington. Over the past two years, the United States has gradually given in to Ukrainian requests for support, sending tanks and long-range missile systems that it was initially reluctant to provide, but with a reservation about providing them. head towards Russian soil.

“There is no change in our policy at this point,” U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday. “We do not encourage or authorize the use of U.S.-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.”

Western leaders want to put pressure on Putin, whose forces have recently led a heavy push against Ukrainian defenses in eastern and northeastern Ukraine.

This week brought a cascade of new European aid, with Belgium and Spain each committing around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in new military support to Ukraine. Sweden announced On Wednesday, it will donate aid worth 13 billion crowns ($1.23 billion), the largest amount Sweden has donated so far. It will include air defense systems, artillery munitions and armored vehicles.

Ukraine has recently come under intense pressure due to Russian attacks in the northeastern region of Kharkiv and the partially occupied eastern region of Donetsk.

Putin has said he wants to establish a “buffer zone” in Kharkiv to stop Ukrainian cross-border assaults. Analysts say the Kharkiv push is also pushing exhausted Ukrainian forces away from Donetsk.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said late Tuesday that the Russian advance in Kharkiv had slowed in recent days and that Kremlin forces were probing the front line in Donetsk for signs of its weaknesses.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

News Source : apnews.com
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