Germany and Italy come out against granting Kyiv free hand to attack Russia with allied weapons — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Germany and Italy come out against granting Kyiv free hand to attack Russia with allied weapons

A serviceman of Ukraine’s 80th Air Assault Brigade repairs weapons at his position near a frontline in the Donetsk area, Ukraine, 16 March 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAKIV LIASHENKO

A serviceman of Ukraine’s 80th Air Assault Brigade repairs weapons at his position near a frontline in the Donetsk area, Ukraine, 16 March 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/YAKIV LIASHENKO

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced his opposition to an increasingly popular view within NATO that Ukraine should be allowed to use weapons supplied by its allies to strike targets on Russian territory, flagship German news show Tagesschau reported on Sunday.

The New York Times reported last week that Washington was considering revising the current ban prohibiting Ukraine from launching attacks on Russian territory using US-supplied weapons. According to the NYT, the move was proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken after he made a visit to Kyiv that he described as “sobering”.

However, Scholz said he saw no reason to expand the current rules governing the use of German-supplied weapons, saying that clear conditions for the deployment of German weapons by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) in the conflict zone already existed and that those conditions worked. Scholz added that Berlin’s main goal in supplying weapons to Kyiv had been to prevent the outbreak of a major war between Russia and NATO.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also spoke out against weapons supplied by the West being used by the AFU to attack Russia. He said Kyiv’s allies were working to achieve peace, rather than to stoke war. “We will not send a single Italian soldier to Ukraine, and the weapons sent by Italy are to be used within Ukraine,” Tajani said, adding, “We are working for peace.”

By contrast, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski told The Guardian in an interview on Saturday that he supported allowing Ukraine to attack targets inside Russia with Western weapons, stressing that “always declaring what our own red line is only invites Moscow to tailor its hostile actions to our constantly changing self-imposed limitations”.

Responding to Sikorski’s interview on Sunday, Russia’s former president and current deputy chairman of its Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, warned that if Ukraine were allowed to attack Russia with allied-supplied weapons, it would mean the start of a new world war, in which, he added “Warsaw won’t be left out, and will surely get its share of radioactive ash”.

In an article in The Economist on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for Ukraine to be free “to strike hard inside Russia” using weapons supplied by its allies. “This is a war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg stressed, adding, “Ukraine has the right to defend themselves. And that includes striking targets on Russian territory.”

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