Germany says Ukraine can use its weapons against Russia


Germany has said it will allow Ukraine to use German weapons in its war against Russia at a meeting between NATO leaders in Prague on Friday.


At a meeting between NATO leaders in Prague on Friday, Germany announced it would allow Ukraine to use German weapons in its attacks from positions over the Russian border.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also dismissed Russian threats of escalation on Friday in Prague after a US decision authorised Ukraine to strike Russia with American-made weapons.

“There is nothing new. This is part of President Putin’s efforts to prevent NATO allies from supporting Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said, before the start of a NATO meeting in Prague.

NATO foreign ministers will meet in the Czech capital on Friday to prepare for this summer’s leaders’ summit as the alliance boosts support for Ukraine and countries one-by-one remove restrictions on how Kyiv can use western-supplied weaponry to combat Russia’s invasion.

A day after US President Joe Biden gave Ukraine the go-ahead to use American munitions to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv,** numerous ministers, including those from the Netherlands, Finland, Poland and Germany, expressed approval of the decision, saying that Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself from attacks originating on Russian soil.

The chorus of allied voices backing greater leeway for Ukraine to use their weapons grew louder in recent weeks after Russia launched artillery strikes on Kharkiv from its territory, prompting appeals for help from Kyiv. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had hinted strongly this week that a change in Washington’s position was coming.

“This is a matter of upholding international law — Ukraine’s right to self-defence,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said. “Russia has attacked Ukraine, (which) has the right to defend themselves. And that includes also attacking military legitimate targets inside Russia.”

“If you look at the battlefield now, Russia is launching attacks on Ukraine’s soil from Russian soil with artillery, missiles, and massing troops,” he said. “And, of course, it makes it very hard for Ukraine to defend themselves if they are not allowed to use advanced weapons to repel those attacks.”

Ukrainian officials had stepped up calls on the US administration to allow their forces to defend themselves against attacks originating from Russian territory. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is just 20 kilometres from the Russian border.

Ukrainian officials, most notably President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been increasingly vocal in arguing that the restriction was putting Ukrainian forces in an untenable situation as Russia intensified attacks around Kharkiv.

Russia has been exploiting a lengthy delay in replenishment of US military aid and Western Europe’s inadequate military production that has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield for Ukraine.

The alliance is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and leaders will be meeting in Washington in July to reaffirm their support. Stoltenberg said he expects to be able to announce at the summit that at least two-thirds of members are meeting their commitment to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defence.

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