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Berlin says Ukraine can strike military targets inside Russia with German arms

by Martin Fornusek May 31, 2024 12:26 PM 2 min read
Illustrative purposes only: German soldiers give directions to M983 HEMTT mounted with a Patriot launcher module part of the U.S.-made MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system on Feb. 18, 2023, in Zamosc, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)
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Editor's note: This story was updated with Germany Defense Minister Boris Pistorius's remarks.

Ukraine can use German-supplied weapons to strike legitimate military targets inside Russia, Deutsche Welle reported on May 31, citing a German government spokesperson.

Berlin has been long opposed to Kyiv using German weapons to strike at Russian soil, but multiple recent statements and media reports indicated that this position is shifting.

The announcement comes shortly after multiple media outlets reported that according to U.S. officials, Washington has also lifted the ban, but only regarding Russian military targets near Kharkiv Oblast.

The information about the U.S.'s decision was confirmed for the Kyiv Independent by President Volodymyr Zelensky's spokesperson, Serhii Nykyforov.

In contrast, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said on May 30 that there has been no change in the U.S. policy regarding the ban but did not specifically mention Kharkiv Oblast.

"We believe that Ukraine can be effective by focusing on tactical and operational targets that directly affect the conflict within its boundaries without going after larger geopolitical targets within Russia," Singh said.

A source of the Politico news outlet source also said that Washington had not allowed long-range strikes deep inside Russia with U.S. weapons, limiting its permission to the area near Kharkiv.

Germany Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said during a visit to Moldova on May 31 that Berlin's decision also applies to the area around Kharkiv, according to Bild journalist Julian Röpke.

Biden quietly allowed Ukraine to strike Russia with US arms but ‘solely near Kharkiv,’ media report
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration secretly lifted the ban for Ukraine to strike Russian territory with American weapons, but “solely near the area of Kharkiv,” Politico reported on May 30, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

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