Ukraine Receives Directive from NATO Ally to Cross Putin’s Red Line

A NATO ally is pressuring Ukraine to challenge one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “red lines,” as Kyiv grapples with a shortage of weapons on the frontlines.

Putin has issued multiple warnings to NATO nations, cautioning them about the potential escalation of the conflict if they provide Kyiv with weapons that can reach Russian targets. However, despite these threats, Ukraine has received such weapons without any apparent retaliation from Putin.

Last year, Finland joined NATO, despite facing opposition from Putin who opposes the expansion of the strategic alliance. Finland cited related concerns as a reason for joining NATO, especially due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a recent development, Finland approved a new military aid package worth $205 million for Ukraine. This demonstrates Finland’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its defense efforts.

According to The Kyiv Independent, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen stated in an interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company that Ukraine has the capability to use weapons supplied by Finland to target locations within Russia.

Hakkanen pointed out that Ukraine’s allies have already supplied “long-range missile systems” and have the authority to determine their usage. He further emphasized the importance of Germany sending Kyiv its long-range Taurus missiles as a means to support Ukraine in achieving victory.

Finnish parliament member Jukka Kopra reportedly took a more assertive stance, suggesting that Ukraine “ought to” utilize the weapons supplied by Finland to target “military objectives on the Russian side.”

Kopra emphasized that if necessary, the military objects will strike on the Ukrainian side. He stated that Ukraine is engaged in a completely legal defensive struggle. According to Kopra, the UN Charter permits attacking military targets that are located across land borders.

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In an interview with U.S. state-funded media outlet Radio Liberty last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed similar views, stating that Ukraine has the legal authority to target “legitimate military targets” in Russia using weapons provided by Western countries.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that Ukraine holds the right to self-defense as per international law. He further emphasized that this right encompasses the ability to target legitimate military objectives, including Russian military targets outside of Ukraine. Stoltenberg reiterated that these actions are within the bounds of international law and stressed that Ukraine has the prerogative to defend itself accordingly.

Ukraine’s military has faced a series of setbacks as Western allies have reduced their aid. In a recent turn of events, Ukraine lost control of Avdiivka, a city in the Dontesk region, after months of intense fighting. Furthermore, within just two days, they suffered additional losses of at least three nearby settlements. These recent developments have dealt a blow to Ukraine’s military efforts.

Recently, several European NATO allies of Kyiv have stepped forward to provide smaller amounts of aid, while the European Union (EU) has approved a new $54 billion aid package for Ukraine. However, despite this, the $60 billion in additional U.S. aid is still being held up in Congress.

The EU package aims to provide aid to Ukraine until 2027. However, there are challenges in delivering the promised weapons and ammunition promptly, which hinders the support for the troops fighting on the battlefield.

According to a senior associate at the London School of Economics think tank LSE IDEAS, Russia’s takeover of Avdiivka was a result of the significant gap between the promises of support for Ukraine made by the Western countries and the actual assistance delivered.

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“Ukrainian troops have faced a significant disadvantage, being outnumbered five-to-one on the frontline, and Avdiivka serves as a stark illustration of this,” remarked Hartwell. “Considering these challenging circumstances, it is remarkable that the Ukrainians have managed to hold Avdiivka for as long as they have.”

Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the head of the U.K.’s armed forces, emphasized the urgent need for the international community to assist Ukraine, which is currently facing significant challenges with ammunition and stockpiles. He expressed concern that these limitations might prevent Kyiv from launching a crucial counteroffensive until next year.

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