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Ukraine: Blinken signals flexibility in use of US weapons

Ukraine: Blinken signals flexibility in use of US weapons

Should Ukraine be allowed to attack targets in Russia with weapons supplied from abroad? New statements by the US Secretary of State on this issue are causing concern. An overview of the situation.

In the debate about the use of Western weapons by Ukraine against military targets in Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has indicated flexibility. Since the beginning of the war, the US government has adapted its support for Ukraine to the changing conditions, Blinken said on Wednesday during a visit to the small neighboring country of Moldova. And he is “confident that we will continue to do so.”

At a press conference with Moldovan President Maia Sandu in the capital Chisinau, Blinken was asked by a journalist whether US President Joe Biden could be persuaded to lift the existing restrictions. Blinken replied that the US government had neither enabled nor encouraged attacks with US weapons on targets outside Ukraine. Ukraine must decide for itself how best to defend itself. “We will ensure that it receives the necessary equipment to do so.”

Debate on use of weapons: France puts pressure on

Blinken stressed that a hallmark of American support for Ukraine in the more than two years since the war began has always been “to adapt as conditions change, as the battlefield changes, as Russia changes its actions (…). We have adapted and changed as well, and I am confident that we will continue to do so.”

French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear on Tuesday that he wanted to allow Ukraine to attack military positions on Russian territory, including with Western weapons. Most recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also put pressure on the country to lift existing restrictions on this issue.

The US has so far provided its weapons to Ukraine so that it can liberate its occupied territories, but not for attacks on Russia itself. The US government has not officially changed its position.

“There is no change in our policy: we neither encourage nor enable the use of US weapons on Russian soil,” said National Security Council Communications Director John Kirby on Wednesday. He spoke to reporters while Blinken was still in Moldova. At the same time, Kirby also stressed that the US had previously adapted its support to the changing conditions on the battlefield and the needs of Ukraine. This would continue to be the case in the future.

The New York Times reported a few days ago that Blinken was lobbying within the government to allow Ukraine to use US weapons against targets within Russian territory. He wanted to persuade President Biden to lift the restrictions, it was said. The State Department would neither deny nor confirm the report at the time.

Pistorius is cautious in his comments

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was cautious about the discussion regarding weapons supplied by Germany. “It should be clear, in the interests of military tactics and strategy, that we should not discuss publicly what is possible, what is permitted and what we want or want to see or not,” said the SPD politician during a visit to the anti-aircraft missile group 21 in Sanitz in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which uses the Patriot weapon system. “International law allows all of this. What is then regulated in detail between the states, as the Chancellor said yesterday, is a regulation between the states.”

Ukraine’s President: Russia can no longer undermine peace summit

Around two and a half weeks before the planned Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj expressed optimism about the event. Russia is putting pressure on states not to take part, Zelenskyj said in his evening speech on Wednesday. However, it is “no longer in a position to disrupt the summit, even if it is trying very hard to do so.”

At Ukraine’s request, Switzerland is organizing the meeting on June 15 and 16 on the Bürgenstock near Lucerne. The summit is intended to mobilize more international support for the country attacked by Russia. Ukraine hopes to convince not only supporting countries but also neutral states or even states that are friendly to Russia of its position. China in particular is being courted.

The meeting is not about direct negotiations with Russia, but rather about developing peace prospects as a first step. Moscow is not invited, but refuses to participate anyway.

What is important today

The foreign ministers of the 32 NATO states plan to press ahead with preparations for the next alliance summit at an informal meeting in Prague this Thursday and Friday. At the summit in Washington in July, it is expected to be decided, among other things, to transfer tasks to support Ukraine that have so far been carried out by the USA to the alliance.

Source: Stern

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