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In an interview with the Washington Post, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, defended his army's right to strike Russian soil, adding that such attacks are carried out only with Ukraine-made weapons.
"This is our problem, and it is up to us to decide how to kill this enemy. It is possible and necessary to kill on its territory in a war," Zaluzhnyi told the WP. "If our partners are afraid to use their weapons, we will kill with our own. But only as much as is necessary."
When providing Ukraine with arms, Western allies have demanded that Kyiv doesn't use their weaponry to strike targets inside Russia due to fears of further escalation. Kyiv has rarely claimed responsibility for such attacks.
"To save my people, why do I have to ask someone for permission what to do on enemy territory?" Zaluzhnyi said in the interview published on July 14. "For some reason, I have to think that I'm not allowed to do anything there. Why? Because (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin will … use nuclear weapons? The kids who are dying don't care."
According to Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine still lacks resources to liberate all the occupied territories and minimize casualties. Speaking with the Washington Post, he criticized those who say Ukraine doesn't need F-16 fighter jets, adding that Kyiv's Western allies would never fight like this.
Zaluzhnyi also reiterated Ukraine's goal to liberate Russian-occupied Crimea despite concerns over Putin's potential response voiced by some Western officials.
"As soon as I have the means, I'll do something. I don't give a damn — nobody will stop me," Zaluzhnyi said.