EU takes steps to permit Ukraine to assault targets in Russia with Western army tools | International | EUROtoday

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Europe is near breaking a brand new taboo in supporting Ukraine in opposition to Russia: an increasing number of nations are keen to permit Kiev to make use of the weapons and army materials that’s being despatched to it to assault army targets on Russian territory. “It is a legitimate action under international law,” stated the excessive consultant for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, this Tuesday in Brussels, reasoning that it’s nonetheless a defensive motion on areas from which assaults on the invaded nation. He took the baton from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who defended the concept just a few days in the past. However, he has warned that “it is a decision for each country; There are those in favor and there are those against.”

“It shouldn't even be a debate, because then Ukraine fights with one hand tied behind its back,” pressured the Dutch Defense Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, upon arrival on the assembly along with her EU counterparts in Brussels. She has been endorsed by her friends from Estonia and Latvia. In the Belgian capital, the Ukrainian president himself, Volodymyr Zelensky, has requested “please” that the allies carry the veto that’s making it tough to defend territories alongside the border, the place the combating is now centered: “They are shooting at us and we cannot respond because we do not have the right to use weapons. When they shoot, they kill people or, under the pressure of that fire, the military has to back down. They continue attacking Kharkiv, people… You receive satellite images from your intelligence service but you can't do anything to respond, I think it's unfair.”

“We cannot risk the support of our allies, that is why we are not using our allies' weapons to attack Russian territory, that is why we are asking, please, for permission to do so,” the Ukrainian implored after a gathering with the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, with whom this Tuesday he signed a army settlement for nearly 1,000 million euros that features the supply of as much as 30 F-16 plane earlier than 2028, the primary even perhaps earlier than the top of this 12 months .

Zelensky's request comes with the open debate on the channel. Russia has built logistical lines in recent months that have allowed it, for example, to open a front north of Kharkiv, the country's second city, and threaten it. He also launches attacks against targets in Ukraine from its territory and not only from the occupied areas. This, plus the growing military difficulties that the invaded country is going through, has led the countries at the forefront of supporting Kiev to begin to talk about allowing the weapons they send to be used to attack military objectives on Russian territory.

With the intention of defending the use of Western weapons against military objectives in Russia, Stoltenberg himself arrived at the headquarters of the EU Council, where he insisted on keeping the option open: “This is a war of aggression, Russia has attacked, has invaded another country. And Ukraine, under international law, has the right to defend itself, and that also includes attacking targets outside Ukraine, military targets inside Russia.” The war, he explained, has become a conflict in which “part of the border is the war front.” “It will be very difficult for the Ukrainians to defend themselves if they cannot attack military targets on the other side of the border, missile launchers, artillery, airfields used to attack Ukraine. If Ukraine cannot attack those military objectives, it will be much more difficult for it to defend itself,” he argued.

Escalation threat

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“Some Member States have begun to decide, to remove that restriction,” said Borrell, who has rejected fears of an escalation if the use of Western weapons for military objectives in Russia is allowed. How many? The high representative did not want to answer this question, but he did warn that reality changes, using as an example what happened with Israel: a week ago few countries were willing to ask Israel for explanations for its attacks in Rafah and this Monday There was unanimity to do it.

Russia is already warning that this step could lead to an escalation towards a greater conflict. “This is definitely something serious, and we are following and observing it very seriously,” said the Russian autocrat, Vladimir Putin, in a press conference reported by the Interfax agency. However, in Brussels this warning was already taken into account: “Of course some are going to allege the risk of escalation, but we must balance the risk of escalation and the need for Ukrainians to defend themselves, because we are in an asymmetrical situation and It is increasingly crucial, because the attacks on kyiv are going to come from Russian territory,” Borrell had launched early in the morning. And the Estonian Defense Minister, Hanno Pevkur, in favor of giving Ukraine authorization to reach Russian soil with weapons, had already gone further by predicting that Moscow has always launched the same threat every time the allies consider a step further. in his support for kyiv.

But not everyone is willing to have their weapons and ammunition used outside Ukraine. Openly against are Germany, Italy and Belgium, although their Government is aware that several walls on military support for the country invaded by Russia, which seemed impossible to tear down when the debate began, have fallen shortly afterwards. “The agreement is very clear, it is for the Ukrainian defense forces to be used in Ukrainian territory, that is what we have agreed upon,” described the Belgian, in a press conference with Zelensky, after signing the bilateral agreement.

De Croo's position is similar to that of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is not sending Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine for fear that it will fire them on Russian soil, or Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. “We must avoid an escalation of the war, which ends up being a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz said on Sunday. For Meloni, “you have to be careful.”

Despite this public closure, far from the cameras, senior European diplomatic sources point out that the rejection is neither permanent nor immovable. For the moment, they point out, it is about strengthening Ukraine's protection capacity, but “we should be agile” and be “open” to the evolution of the situation on the ground, they point out. This “does not make NATO allies part of the conflict. We have the right to support Ukraine in its defense,” said Stoltenberg. This has not been the only problematic point on the defense ministers' agenda this Tuesday. There was also the possibility of sending military instructors to Ukraine to train soldiers on the ground. Until now the training has been done outside the invaded country. Now there are countries that have shown themselves willing to do so within. “Ukraine needs more training,” stressed Borrell, who, however, admitted that “there is no consensus” on this specific aspect.

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