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‘Nothing new’: NATO chief dismisses Russian warnings of escalation after key members carry arms restrictions

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on May 31 dismissed warnings by Russian President Vladimir Putin that permitting Kyiv to make use of Western weapons for strikes inside Russian territory would possibly result in an escalation.

Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO overseas ministers’ assembly in Prague, Mr. Stoltenberg stated the alliance had heard such warnings many instances earlier than.

“This is nothing new. It has (…) been the case for a long time that every time NATO allies are providing support to Ukraine, President Putin is trying to threaten us to not do that,” he advised reporters. “And an escalation — well, Russia has escalated by invading another country.”

Mr. Putin on Tuesday warned NATO members towards permitting Ukraine to fireside their weapons into Russia and raised a brand new threat of nuclear battle after a number of allies lifted restrictions imposed on the usage of weapons donated to Kyiv.

Policy shift

In a marked coverage shift, U.S. President Joe Biden has additionally authorised Kyiv the restricted use of U.S.-supplied weapons inside Russia, 4 officers, talking on situation of anonymity, stated on Thursday.

Mr. Biden’s determination applies solely to targets inside Russia close to the border with the Kharkiv area, the place an offensive launched by Moscow on May 10 has overrun some villages, they defined. The U.S. is by far the biggest arms donor to Kyiv.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis, is 30 km from the border with Russia.

In Berlin on May 31, a German authorities spokesman stated Ukraine may use weapons equipped by Berlin to defend itself towards assaults launched from simply inside Russia towards the Kharkiv border area, in accordance with worldwide regulation.

‘Ukraine has the right to self-defence’

Mr. Stoltenberg stated Ukraine had the appropriate to strike reputable navy targets inside Russia, particularly because the borderline and the frontline close to Kharkiv have been roughly the identical, and it was not affordable to imagine Kyiv shouldn’t hit again.

“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,” he stated. “Ukraine has the right to self-defence, we have the right to help Ukraine uphold the right for self-defence, and that does not make NATO allies a party to the conflict,” Stoltenberg added.

“That was the case back in February 2022, that was the case last year, that remains the case.”

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