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Ukraine gets support for more powers

How to use Western weapons?
Ukraine gets support for more powers

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In the discussions about arms deliveries, the main concern for Ukraine is not what military material it will receive, but what it will be allowed to do with it. Before the NATO meeting in Prague, several alliance countries are exerting pressure in Ukraine's favor.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has promised an “adjustment” of Western arms deliveries to Ukraine. During a visit to Moldova, Blinken responded to a journalist's question about whether he supported the current restrictions on the use of US weapons on Russian territory: “At every step along the way, we have adapted and changed as needed. And that is exactly what we will continue to do in the future.”

Recently, several media outlets reported that Blinken was urging US President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to attack military targets on Russian territory. During his visit to Moldova on the eve of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague, Blinken said that since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “conditions have changed, the battlefield has changed, and Russia has changed its policy of aggression and escalation, so we have adapted and adapted.”

Poland, Finland and Canada put pressure on

While no conclusions can be drawn from Blinken's vague statements, several NATO countries are exerting pressure on the issue in Ukraine's interest. Poland's Deputy Defense Minister Cezary Tomczyk, for example, declared that Ukraine is free to use the weapons supplied by Poland “however they want.” Tomczyk is calling on Western countries to “also lift their restrictions.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said at a press conference in Sweden that her country would not attach any conditions to arms deliveries and would continue to work with the Ukrainian armed forces. The issue would be addressed at upcoming NATO consultations. As the online newspaper “Uusi Suomi” reports, Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen also stated that Ukraine could attack Russia with weapons provided by her country – in accordance with international law.

Scholz so far vague

Although an approval from countries that supply long-range weapons – especially the USA – would be more important for Ukraine, the position of those who want to give Ukraine more options seems to be strengthened in the internal NATO discussion about the use of Western weapons. The alliance is divided on the issue. Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the lifting of existing restrictions on the use of Western weapons against military targets on Russian territory.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country has supplied Ukraine with Scalp cruise missiles with a range of several hundred kilometers, recently expressed himself at Meseberg Castle in line with Stoltenberg's demand. “We think that we should allow them to neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are being fired and, in fact, the military sites from which Ukraine is being attacked,” Macron said after a conversation with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the end of his three-day state visit to Germany. However, he made it clear: “We should not allow them to hit other targets in Russia, civilian capacities of course, or other military targets.”

Chancellor Scholz was less clear on the issue than Macron, but let it be known that he had no legal objections to such action. Under international law, Ukraine has every opportunity to do what it does against the Russian attackers. “It must be said explicitly: it is under attack and is allowed to defend itself.” International law applies to the use of weapons supplied by the USA, France and Germany. “That has worked well in practice so far and will certainly continue to do so,” stressed Scholz.

Scholz has always stressed that Germany will not participate directly in the war against Russia. This also plays a central role in his rejection of the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.

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