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Germany says Ukraine can use its weapons to strike Russian territory

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Copyright AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
Copyright AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
By Euronews with AP
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Several NATO countries have relaxed their boundaries on Ukraine's use of their military hardware – but some are still not budging.


Germany has announced it will allow Ukraine to use German weapons to attack targets within Russia's borders, joining several other NATO members in relaxing its limits on what Ukraine can do with donated military hardware.

The news comes as several NATO member states, including the US, are one-by-one easing their restrictions on the extent to which Kyiv can use western-supplied weaponry to combat Russia’s invasion.

However, not all members are on board with the move. Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani ruled out both sending troops to Ukraine and the use of Italian weapons to hit targets inside Russia. 

"It's impossible for Italy to send soldiers to Ukraine also to use our weapons in Russia," Tajani told reporters in Prague.

Tajani did stress Italy's support of Ukraine, but said that under the country's constitution, it would be impossible to allow the use of its weapons to hit inside Russia and deploy troops to Ukraine.

"We are not fighting against Russia. We are defending Ukraine, (it) is not the same," he added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also dismissed renewed Russian threats of escalation.

“There is nothing new," he said. "This is part of President Putin's efforts to prevent NATO allies from supporting Ukraine."

NATO foreign ministers are meeting in the Czech capital on Friday to prepare for this summer’s full leaders' summit as the alliance boosts support for Ukraine.

A German army main battle tank Leopard 2A7V takes part in a Lithuanian-German international military exercise.
A German army main battle tank Leopard 2A7V takes part in a Lithuanian-German international military exercise.Mindaugas Kulbis/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

A day after US President Joe Biden gave Ukraine the go-ahead to use American munitions to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv,** numerous ministers, including those from the Netherlands, Finland and Poland expressed their approval of the decision, saying that Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself from attacks originating on Russian soil.

The chorus of allied voices giving greater leeway for Ukraine to use their weapons grew louder in recent weeks after Russia launched artillery strikes on Kharkiv from its territory, prompting appeals for help from Kyiv.

“This is a matter of upholding international law – Ukraine’s right to self-defence,” Stoltenberg said. “Russia has attacked Ukraine, (who have) the right to defend themselves. And that includes also attacking military legitimate targets inside Russia.”

“If you look at the battlefield now, Russia is launching attacks on Ukraine’s soil from Russian soil with artillery, missiles, and massing troops,” he said. “And, of course, it makes it very hard for Ukraine to defend themselves if they are not allowed to use advanced weapons to repel those attacks.”

Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been increasingly vocal in arguing that the restriction was putting Ukrainian forces in an untenable position as Russia intensified attacks around Kharkiv, which lies just 20 kilometres from the Russian border.

Russia has exploited a lengthy delay in the replenishment of US military aid and Western Europe’s inadequate military production that has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield for Ukraine.

NATO is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and leaders will meet in Washington in July to reaffirm their support for the Ukrainian effort. Stoltenberg said he expects to be able to announce at the summit that at least two-thirds of members are meeting their commitment to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defence.

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