Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Ukraine ‘already hitting Putin’s targets’ on Russian territories with Western weapons

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun8,2024

Ukraine is already hitting Russian targets on its territories with Western weapons, Portugal hinted on Wednesday. Defence Minister Nuno Melo expressed personal support for Ukraine’s defensive measures against military threats from Russian soil, stressing the importance of such actions.

“I’ll tell you what I think, I mean, all defensive actions involve the use of weapons,” Melo stated during the Schuman Defence and Security Forum in Brussels.

He illustrated his point by asking: “Imagine you have artillery pieces placed on Russian territory that are being used to batter Ukrainian lines. Are the Ukrainians inhibited from trying to destroy those artillery pieces? Any normal person would understand that that wouldn’t make much sense.”

While clarifying that his opinion does not represent the official stance of the Portuguese government, Melo emphasised that Ukraine should be able to neutralise threats with available weapons.

“If there are artillery pieces on Russian border territory, for example, that are being used to murder Ukrainians, then Ukraine should be able to use the weapons at its disposal to destroy those artillery pieces,” he insisted.

The debate comes at a time when Western nations are reconsidering the limitations on Ukraine’s use of supplied weapons. Traditionally, restrictions were imposed to prevent escalation and avoid direct confrontation with Russia.

For instance, Ukraine‘s Kharkiv region, located just 50 kilometres from Russia’s Belgorod district, frequently faces artillery and missile attacks launched from across the border.

Other Western leaders are also pushing for a policy shift. French President Emmanuel Macron and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg have advocated for allowing Ukraine to strike military targets within Russia using advanced long-range Western weapons.

Macron stressed the strategic necessity of such a move, stating: “If we tell [the Ukrainians] you do not have the right to reach the point from which the missiles are fired, we are in fact telling them that we are delivering weapons to you, but you cannot defend yourself.”

Stoltenberg echoed this sentiment, adding: “The right to self-defence includes hitting legitimate targets outside Ukraine.”

Despite the potential for escalation, Western leaders like US Secretary of State Antony Blinken maintain that Ukraine must decide on the best ways to defend itself. The US will continue supplying necessary defensive equipment. Blinken, during a visit to Moldova, reiterated: “We haven’t encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine. Ukraine, as I’ve said before, has to make its own decisions about the best way to effectively defend itself.”

Meanwhile, European nations are ramping up their military aid to Ukraine. Belgium and Spain have each pledged around €1bn in new military support, and Sweden announced a 13 billion kronor aid package, its largest yet, including air defence systems and armoured vehicles.

This increased aid comes as Ukrainian forces face mounting pressure from Russian offensives, particularly in the northeastern Kharkiv and eastern Donetsk regions.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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