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Zelensky welcomes “a step forward” after the American green light for strikes in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky greeted Friday "one step forward" after the green light, under conditions, given by the United States regarding the use of its weapons against targets on Russian soil.

“This is a step forward towards this goal (…) of defending our people who live in the villages located along the border” with Russia, reacted Volodymyr Zelensky during the third Ukraine-Europe summit from the North to Stockholm.

The day before, American President Joe Biden, who had refused until now, accepted that the Ukrainians would strike to defend themselves against targets on Russian territory near the Kharkiv region (northeast), which has been subject to incessant Russian strikes for months.

President Biden “approved the use of our weapons for this objective”, underlined Friday Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Prague for a NATO meeting.

Western countries have displayed on Friday growing, although nuanced, support for Ukraine's use of their weapons against Russia within its borders.

Germany thus estimated that the Ukrainians could use its equipment against military targets in Russia, particularly in response to the offensive launched on May 10 by Moscow.

Zelensky welcomes “a step forward” after the American green light for strikes in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, right, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 31, 2024 © TT News Agency – Fredrik SANDBERG

Chancellor Olaf Scholz's spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Ukraine had the “right” to defend itself with the weapons it had, “including those we delivered.”

Washington's decision marks a turnaround, with the United States previously saying it fears that such a measure would drag NATO into a direct conflict with Russia .

On Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov assured that American weapons were “already used to try to strike Russian territory”, seeing this as proof of the “degree of involvement of the United States in this conflict”.

– “Escalation” –

On Thursday, Russia had already criticized the Atlantic Alliance for launching “a new cycle of escalation”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that he only saw “efforts” by Russian President Vladimir Putin “to prevent NATO allies from supporting Ukraine” .

M. Stoltenberg has been calling for several days on Western capitals to lift restrictions that “tie the hands behind the backs of Ukrainians”.

He recalled that the use of Western weapons for strikes on Russian soil had received support from other countries, citing the delivery of equipment “without any restrictions” on use by the United Kingdom.

France announced this week that it was also in favor, judging that Ukraine had the right to defend itself by targeting military targets.

Zelensky welcomes “a step forward” after the American green light for strikes in Russia

Ukraine: positions of military forces © AFP – Valentin RAKOVSKY, Sophie RAMIS, Cléa PECULIER

Certain member states of the Atlantic Alliance are nevertheless not of this opinion.

The head of Italian diplomacy Antonio Tajani thus affirmed that “for Italy, it is impossible to use our weapons outside Ukraine.”

“We are not fighting against Russia. We are defending Ukraine, and that is not the same thing,” he said.

Quant to Turkey, it said it categorically refused that NATO “participate” in the war in Ukraine.

“Support Ukraine to guarantee its territorial integrity and liberate its territories is one thing, but NATO's involvement in the war is another,” declared its Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan after the meeting in Prague.

~. 60~p>- 880 km2 conquered –

The United States, for their part, stressed that they would continue to adapt their position according to the situation on the ground.

“In the future, we will continue to do what we have been doing, which is to say, if necessary, adapt,” said Antony Blinken in Prague.

The green light from the United States for strikes on Russian targets near Kharkiv was obtained after weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, following the launch of the Russian offensive in this region.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city, in the northeast, is the target of bombings almost daily.

Six people were killed there by a Russian strike overnight, regional authorities announced Friday, who had earlier said that 23 people had been injured.

A 39-year-old resident of this city, Ioulia, who was at home, said she heard a “huge explosion” and saw “smoke” before running towards shelter. “I wouldn't wish it even on my worst enemy,” she confided.

Also Friday, Ukrainian bombings in an area of ​​the controlled Donetsk region by the Russian army left five dead, according to the occupation authorities installed by Moscow.

In Sweden on Friday, President Zelensky insisted that Ukraine would become “more strong thanks to the support of our allies”.

But, for the moment, the situation on the front is not to the advantage of the Ukrainian army, lacking men and ammunition, facing confident Russian troops.

On Friday, the Russian Minister of Defense, Andreï Beloussov, affirmed that his army had conquered “880 km2” since the beginning of the year on Ukrainian territory, where it regularly claims advances without however achieving a real breakthrough for the moment.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116