Stoltenberg: Russia takes advantage of NATO countries' restrictions on use of weapons by Ukraine

Stoltenberg: Russia takes advantage of NATO countries' restrictions on use of weapons by Ukraine

NATO countries should reconsider the feasibility of restrictions on the use of weapons that they supply to Ukraine for its self-defense, including the possible permission to use such weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian soil.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this in his speech in the Czech parliament on Thursday, May 30, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"You may have seen there have been discussions about the type of support, but also the use of the support that we provide. I think we need to recognize that Allies are delivering many different types of military support to Ukraine. And some of them have imposed restrictions on the use of these weapons. Others have no restrictions on the weapons they have delivered to Ukraine. These are national decisions. [...] I believe that the time has come to consider some of these restrictions to enable the Ukrainians to really defend themselves," Stoltenberg said.

Read also: Ukraine can still prevail, but only with robust support from NATO allies - Stoltenberg

He noted that this must be done in light of how this war has evolved. "In the beginning, almost all the fighting took place on Ukrainian territory, deep into Ukrainian territory. But now, the last weeks or months, most of the heavy fighting has taken place, actually, along the border between Russia and Ukraine in the Kharkiv region," Stoltenberg said.

In these conditions, the Russians turn to their advantage the restrictions imposed by Western allies on the use of their weapons by Ukraine. In particular, the Russians can place launchers, aircraft, ammunition and fuel depots along the border, and feel more safe, as the border protects them from attacks by Ukrainian troops using modern Western weapons systems.

"We need to remember what this is – this is a war of aggression launched by choice by Moscow against Ukraine. Russia invaded another country, invaded Ukraine, and Ukraine has, according to international law, the right to defend themselves. It's enshrined in the UN Charter. And the right for self-defense includes also striking military targets, legitimate military targets outside Ukraine. Military targets, for instance, on the border, Russian territory launching attacks against Ukrainian forces. So, this is now an issue which is addressed by Allies and I think it reflects that the character of the war has changed over the last two weeks and a couple of months," he said.

Photo: EPA-EFE

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