NATO gives Ukraine the green light to cross Putin's red line

NATO gives Ukraine the green light to cross Putin's red line

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine has the right to use Western-supplied weapons to defend itself against Russia, even if that includes striking targets within Russia's borders.

“This is Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and is a flagrant violation of international law,” Stoltenberg told Radio Liberty during an interview on Tuesday.

“Under international law, Ukraine has the right to self-defense. This also includes directing strikes against legitimate military targets, that is, Russian military targets outside Ukraine. This is international law, and of course, Ukraine has the right to do this to defend itself.” Itself.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks Friday during a press conference at the 60th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany. Stoltenberg said this week that Ukraine had the right to defend itself against Russia.

Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

A NATO official confirmed Financial Times On Thursday, Stoltenberg said Kiev's right to self-defense includes striking Russian military targets outside Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly warned against Ukraine using Western-supplied equipment to launch attacks on Russian territory, saying doing so could lead to an escalation of the conflict. These warnings had made allies such as the United States refrain from supplying Kiev with long-range weapons capable of reaching Russia, but NATO allies have since provided Ukraine with such weapons.

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Putin said last month that Russian investigators discovered that a US-made Patriot air defense system was used to shoot down an Ilyushin 2-76 military transport plane while it was on Russian territory. Washington provided Kiev with several additional surface-to-air and artillery weapons systems.

Officials in Moscow claimed that everyone on board the II-76, which crashed inside the Belgorod region on January 24, had died, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. Kyiv did not accept responsibility for the incident Newsweek He was unable to verify Russia's claims.

Stoltenberg noted during his interview with Radio Liberty that it is up to each NATO ally to decide “for itself whether it has any reservations about what it is supplying” to Ukraine in light of Putin’s warnings, and said that “different allies have slightly different policies on this.”

Newsweek It reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment on Thursday.

The NATO Secretary General also spoke about efforts to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, saying it was “impossible to say exactly” when the aircraft would be ready for battle.

“We all want the F-16s to be there as soon as possible,” Stoltenberg told Radio Liberty. “At the same time, of course, the impact of the F-16 will be stronger and better with more trained pilots. And not just pilots, but also maintenance, personnel and all the support systems that have to be in place.”

F-16s have been supplied to Ukraine by a variety of NATO members, and training programs on the modern aircraft are being conducted in the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Romania.

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