Restricting Kyiv from using Western weapons to strike Russian territory makes defending Ukraine more difficult – NATO Secretary General

Monday, 27 May 2024 —

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asks that the allies review the constraints on Ukraine's ban on using Western weaponry against the Russian Federation in the midst of border fighting in Kharkiv Oblast.

Stoltenberg noted at a press conference in Sofia that Ukraine is fighting an aggressive war and, under international law, it has the right to self-defence.

"The right to self-defence includes the right to strike legitimate military targets outside Ukraine. That’s part of self-defence. And we see this very clearly demonstrated now in the fighting in Kharkiv [Oblast – ed.]. Because they are actually Russian forces on Russian territory, attacking [Ukraine – ed.] just over the border," he said. 

The front line runs roughly parallel to the border, and if you can't attack Russian forces on the other side of the front because they're on the other side of the border, you severely limit Ukrainian forces' ability to protect themselves, the NATO Secretary General said.


He stated that in such circumstances, the Russians can attack without being attacked in return. In this context, Stoltenberg urged the Allies to review their limits on the weapons use.

"My message is that I think we should now consider those restrictions, because by having too many restrictions we are tying one hand of the Ukrainian Armed Forces," Stoltenberg added. 

Stoltenberg recently expressed a similar stance in an interview with The Economist.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposes the idea of Ukraine using weapons supplied by Western allies to attack Russia.

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