While Ukraine Waits for the Promised US Aid: Russia's Aggression Escalates in East

In the east of the country, the Russian army continues its conquest with fierce frontal attacks, while Ukrainian soldiers have to wait for the announced deliveries of weapons. Is Ukraine allowed to target Russian sites with Western weapons?

by Sededin Dedovic
While Ukraine Waits for the Promised US Aid: Russia's Aggression Escalates in East
© Chris McGrath / Getty Images

The Russian army has once again attacked Ukraine with drones, sliding bombs, and missiles. In the east of the country, the Russian army continues its conquest with fierce frontal attacks, while Ukrainian soldiers have to wait for the promised weapons deliveries.

The situation is so tense that the question is increasingly being raised: does Ukraine have the right to target Russian locations with Western weapons? Some NATO members are becoming more pragmatic about this issue reports DeutscheWelle.

Recently it was David Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, who visited Kiev on Thursday. His government has just promised Ukraine that it will support the country with three billion pounds in aid every year - for as long as necessary.

"Let's be very clear: Russia has attacked Ukraine and Ukraine has every right to retaliate," Cameron said. "He wants to allow Ukrainians to decide how to use British weapons." Earlier, Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braže also affirmed Ukraine's right to attacks on Russian territory.

In an interview with the Ukrainian portal "European Truth," she said, "Ukraine needs not only air defense or ammunition. Ukraine must be able to conduct long-range, precise strikes. Even on Russian territory, from which Russia is attacking Ukraine.

This is covered by international law." Such clear statements from leading Western politicians on this issue have rarely been heard before - at least in public. On the other hand, the Russian government has repeatedly stated that attacks with Western weapons on Russian territory could escalate the situation.

The Kremlin has thus accused David Cameron of jeopardizing European security with his words.

Members of Ukraines 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit use binoculars to search for Russian drones© Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Ukraine's attacks on Russia have long been a reality.

Airports, military camps, and especially oil refineries are bombed with drones. Military experts believe that if Ukraine continues drone attacks, Russia could face gasoline shortages as early as this summer. Fuel prices could rise worldwide.

This is probably one reason why the US government recently pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky not to attack any more refineries in Russia. Perhaps simply because high gasoline prices are poison for the president during an election campaign.

But Zelensky sees no alternative to weakening Russia. Indeed, on Wednesday, another Russian oil refinery burned down. Zelensky has NATO support in this regard. Oil refineries are "legitimate targets" for attacks by Ukrainian drones, said Jens Stoltenberg in early April.

Western politicians and military officials have long secretly given their blessing to attacks on Russian soil. Now more and more of them are doing so publicly. And some no longer see a problem even when Western weapons are used for these attacks.

Ukrainian military expert Oleh Zhdanov believes this is related to the difficult situation on the front. There is a danger of a new invasion by the Russian army in the Sumy or Kharkiv region, says Zhdanov. "We will certainly be forced to fight on our state border," he says.

This, he says, means that the enemy will also come under fire on Russian territory.

Quiet agreement on operational radius

"Sooner or later, it had to happen that Western countries would abandon the requirement - that their weapons not be used on Russian soil," says this military expert.

There were no prohibitions anyway. This also applies to the US long-range ATACMS missiles delivered to Ukraine this spring. They have a range of up to 300 kilometers. Ukraine has already used them to attack several Russian targets, but apparently only in areas that Russia has occupied.

This, Zhdanov says, complied with the American demand. It is also mentioned that there is a quiet agreement regarding British Storm Shadow cruise missiles: to use them only on Ukrainian territory. This is a matter of trust. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz prefers not to rely on that trust - especially when it comes to Taurus cruise missiles.

This missile has a range of up to 500 kilometers. He recently said, "There can be no discussion here as among friends: 'Don't you trust me?' Of course, I trust my friends, but I wouldn't give all of them my weapons!" Ukrainian military expert Zhdanov still believes it is possible that Scholz will change his mind.

"After the Americans promised us Abrams tanks, Olaf Scholz agreed to deliver Leopard tanks - even though he previously said that such tanks would never be used in the Ukrainian army," says Zhdanov, adding, "So I think if circumstances develop in such a way, it is possible that Scholz will change his mind and deliver the Tauruses." Circumstances are actually developing - and not for the better: Russia continues to advance. Then politicians sometimes become pragmatic, reports DW.

Ukraine Russia