German officials regret not lifting ban on Ukraine striking targets in Russia sooner

Tuesday, 4 June 2024

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has said he regrets that the government led by Olaf Scholz did not allow Ukraine to deploy Western-supplied weapons to strike military targets in Russia sooner.

Habeck said in an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine that Ukraine should be allowed to do what it needs to prevent Russian attacks and protect the lives of civilians.

A ban on striking military targets in Russia means that more people might die, he explained.

"The permission currently covers a strictly localised area around Kharkiv. For self-defence, for protection. But it’s true that the decision we made could’ve been made earlier," Habeck said.


However, Habeck defended Scholz against accusations of delaying granting Ukraine permission to strike targets in Russia.

According to Habeck, "Delay is the wrong word. We are making very difficult decisions, so we have to weigh everything carefully. In this case, the right decision was made."

Last week, the German government confirmed that it has given Ukraine permission to use German-supplied weapons to strike military targets in Russia.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius characterised Berlin's decision to enable Ukraine to employ German weaponry against Russian military facilities as a "strategic adaptation to a changing situation".

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasised that allowing Ukraine to use the weapons provided by Germany to strike targets in Russia will not lead to escalation and is necessary for self-defence.

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