Stoltenberg: Ukraine's right of self-defense includes striking military targets inside Russia

Stoltenberg: Ukraine's right of self-defense includes striking military targets inside Russia

Ukraine's right of self-defense includes striking legitimate military targets inside Russia.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this before a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in defense ministers' format in Brussels on Tuesday.

"We have to remember what this is. This is a war of aggression. Russia has attacked another country, invaded another country. And Ukraine has, according to international law, the right to self-defense, to defend themselves. And the right of self-defense includes also striking targets outside Ukraine, legitimate military targets inside Russia. And this is in particular, relevant now. Because the most heavy fighting is now taking place in the Kharkiv region, close to the Ukrainian Russian border. And part of the border is actually the front line," Stoltenberg said, commenting on lifting restrictions on Ukraine's use of Western weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

He said that it would be "very hard and difficult for the Ukrainians to defend themselves if they cannot hit military targets just on the other side of the border."

"These may be missile launchers. It may be artillery. It may be airfields which are used to attack Ukraine. And if Ukraine cannot hit those military targets, it will be much harder for them to defend themselves," he added.

According to Stoltenberg, decisions on whether Ukraine can hit military targets inside Russia using Western weapons are by NATO Allies on a national basis.

"These are national decisions. It's not that NATO decides on restrictions. Some Allies have not imposed restrictions on the weapons they have delivered. Others have. I believe the time now has come to consider those restrictions, not least in light of the development in the war, which now is actually taking place along the border. And that makes it even harder for them to defend themselves," he said.

Read also: Ukraine urgently needs more air defense systems - Stoltenberg

Stoltenberg noted that "this doesn't make NATO Allies party to the conflict."

"The fact that that we are delivering equipment to Ukraine doesn't make NATO party to the conflict. We have the right to support Ukraine without becoming a party to the conflict because we're helping Ukraine to uphold the right for self-defense. Some Allies have never imposed restrictions on how to use weapons that are provided to Ukraine. And actually, when they delivered the weapons to Ukraine, they are Ukrainian weapons. Again, these are national decisions. Different considerations have been made. But I strongly believe that those Allies who have decided to not have restrictions, they don't make NATO party to the conflict and that will, of course, also be the case for other Allies," Stoltenberg said.

Photo: Europa Press

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