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Trouble For Putin? France, Germany back Ukraine’s right to target Russian bases with weapons | World News

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BERLIN: France and Germany issued a joint statement on Tuesday, advocating for Ukraine’s right to utilise their weaponry to target Russian bases, which they allege are launching attacks on Ukrainian soil, CNN reported. French President Emmanuel Macron, during a press conference alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, emphasised that weapons supplied to Ukraine, including long-range missiles, are authorised to target Russian bases.

“Ukrainian soil is being attacked from bases in Russia,” Macron declared during his visit to Schloss Meseberg in Brandenburg, Germany. “So how do we explain to the Ukrainians that we’re going to have to protect these towns and basically everything we’re seeing around Kharkiv at the moment, if we tell them you are not allowed to hit the point from which the missiles are fired?”

“We think that we should allow them to neutralise the military sites from which the missiles are fired and, basically, the military sites from which Ukraine is attacked,” Macron continued, as reported by CNN. However, Macron stressed the importance of not allowing strikes on non-military or civilian targets in Russia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz echoed Macron’s sentiments, affirming that Ukraine has the right to defend itself within the parameters set by the countries that have provided the weapons and international law. “Ukraine has every possibility under international law for what it is doing. That has to be said explicitly,” Scholz asserted. “I find it strange when some people argue that it should not be allowed to defend itself and take measures that are suitable for this.”

The Western stance on the usage of donated weapons by Ukraine has long been contentious, with concerns among Western leaders that such actions could escalate violence and potentially draw NATO into a broader conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has consistently sought permission from his allies to extend the use of provided weapons to target Russian territory.

The United States, Ukraine’s largest arms supplier, has previously refrained from endorsing Ukrainian strikes inside Russian territory due to concerns about escalation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at a possible shift in policy, indicating that the US would continue to adapt its support for Ukraine in response to changing conditions.

“We’re always listening. We’re always learning, and we’re always making determinations about what’s necessary to make sure that Ukraine can effectively continue to defend itself,” Blinken stated. Despite this, Blinken reiterated that, at present, the US has not sanctioned Ukrainian strikes into Russian territory with US-provided weaponry.

France has equipped Ukraine with SCALP cruise missiles, whose capabilities include a range of up to 155 kilometers (96 miles) and a 400-kilogram (881-pound) high-explosive penetration warhead. “The SCALP missiles have been provided to Ukraine with specific guidelines,” Macron emphasised. “They are intended solely for targeting military installations from which attacks are launched into Ukrainian territory.”

In a similar vein, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron affirmed Ukraine’s right to use the weaponry supplied to defend itself against Russian aggression. “In terms of what the Ukrainians do, in our view it is their decision about how to use these weapons, they are defending their country,” Cameron remarked during a visit to Kyiv. “We don’t discuss any caveats that we put on those things. But let’s be absolutely clear: Russia has launched an attack into Ukraine, and Ukraine absolutely has the right to strike back at Russia.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, contended that Ukraine’s use of long-range weapons necessitates significant NATO support, which could potentially lead to a global conflict, according to CNN. “Long-range precision weapons cannot be used without space-based reconnaissance,” Putin asserted during a state visit to Uzbekistan. “Final target selection or launch mission for Western systems need to be made by highly skilled specialists who rely on this reconnaissance data.”

“Officials from NATO countries, especially those based in Europe, should be fully aware of what is at stake,” Putin cautioned. “They should keep in mind that theirs are small and densely populated countries, which is a factor to reckon with before they start talking about striking deep into Russian territory.”

Despite the tensions, Ukraine received pledges of support from Belgium and Spain, with both countries agreeing to supply military equipment to Kyiv. Belgium committed to providing 30 F-16 fighter jets over the next four years, while Spain announced a $1.08 billion weapons deal for Ukraine. These agreements underscored a broader coalition of Western nations standing in solidarity with Ukraine against Russian aggression. Alongside Belgium and Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Finland, and Canada have also signed security agreements, affirming their commitment to supporting Ukraine’s defence efforts, CNN reported.