NATO Foreign Ministers Rally for Ukraine's Defense: Breaking New Grounds

NATO foreign ministers met in Prague to prepare for the upcoming leaders' summit, as they ramp up support for Ukraine. Following President Biden’s approval, allies are backing Ukraine's right to defend itself against Russian attacks from Russian soil. Discussions highlighted Ukraine's pressing need for advanced weapons amidst the ongoing conflict.

PTI | Prague | Updated: 31-05-2024 13:45 IST | Created: 31-05-2024 13:45 IST
NATO Foreign Ministers Rally for Ukraine's Defense: Breaking New Grounds
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  • Czechia

NATO foreign ministers were meeting in the Czech capital Friday to prepare for this summer's leaders' summit as the alliance boosts support for Ukraine and countries one-by-one remove restrictions on how Kyiv can use western-supplied weaponry to combat Russia's invasion.

A day after US President Joe Biden gave Ukraine the go-ahead to use American munitions to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, numerous ministers, including those from the Netherlands, Finland, Poland and Germany, expressed approval of the decision, saying that Ukraine has the absolute right to defend itself from attacks originating on Russian soil.

The chorus of allied voices backing greater leeway for Ukraine to use their weapons grew louder in recent weeks after Russia launched artillery strikes on Kharkiv from its territory, prompting appeals for help from Kyiv. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had hinted strongly this week that a change in Washington's position was coming.

"This is a matter of upholding international law — Ukraine's right to self-defence," NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said. "Russia has attacked Ukraine, (which) has the right to defend themselves. And that includes also attacking military legitimate targets inside Russia." "If you look at the battlefield now, Russia is launching attacks on Ukraine's soil from Russian soil with artillery, missiles, and massing troops," he said. "And, of course, it makes it very hard for Ukraine to defend themselves if they are not allowed to use advanced weapons to repel those attacks." Ukrainian officials had stepped up calls on the US administration to allow their forces to defend themselves against attacks originating from Russian territory. Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, is just 20 km (12 miles) from the Russian border.

Ukrainian officials, most notably President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been increasingly vocal in arguing that the restriction was putting Ukrainian forces in an untenable situation as Russia intensified attacks around Kharkiv.

Russia has been exploiting a lengthy delay in replenishment of US military aid and Western Europe's inadequate military production that has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield for Ukraine.

The alliance is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and leaders will be meeting in Washington in July to reaffirm their support. Stoltenberg said he expects to be able to announce at the summit that at least two-thirds of members are meeting their commitment to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defence.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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