July 13, 2024

British-made Storm Shadows can be used to strike targets deep inside Russia, Jens Stoltenberg has said.

The UK has never placed restrictions on how the Ukrainian military employs British-made Storm Shadow missiles, which effectively means Kiev is free to use them to strike targets deep in Russian territory, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated.

His remark came amid intensified calls from Ukraine for its foreign backers to lift restrictions on the use of their hardware to strike targets deep inside Russia, coupled with increasingly bold statements from Western leaders. While Kiev does not have official clearance to attack targets far behind the front line with US-made weapons, several other NATO states have “never imposed any” restrictions, according to Stoltenberg.

“This is the matter of upholding international law and Ukraine’s right to self-defense: Russia has attacked, Ukraine is trying to defend itself, and that includes attacking legitimate targets inside Russia,” the NATO chief said on Friday, ahead of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Prague.

Our allies have for many years, or since this war started back in 2022, accepted that their weapons are used also for strikes against legitimate targets inside Russia. For instance, the UK has provided Storm Shadow cruise missiles for a long time without any restrictions.

Stoltenberg stressed that NATO sees strikes deep into Russia as legitimate, reiterating the bloc’s position that Moscow acted in “violation of international law” by “invading” Ukraine. He noted, however, that this refers specifically to military facilities on Russian territory, like artillery and missile bases – especially those from which Russia launches its own attacks against Ukraine.

READ MORE: British long-range missiles already being used to strike Russia – Ukrainian official

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Western-made long-range weapons for hitting civilians instead of military targets. In early May, Foreign Ministry official Sergey Belyaev claimed that “UK-supplied weapons are being actively used by the Ukrainian military in terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure and the civilian population of Donbass, as well as other Russian regions.”

Moscow has long maintained that Western arms supplies to Kiev only prolong the war, and that allowing strikes deep inside Russia would represent an escalation of the conflict. Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin warned that long-range strikes on Russian territory using Western-made weaponry could lead to “serious consequences,” including a “global conflict.”

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