Countries Permitting Ukraine to Strike Targets Inside Russia (INFOGRAPHIC)

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine has been constantly restricted in its right to use weapons received from Western countries to strike at Russian territory. This restriction has been explained in the West by the fact that they are giving Ukraine weapons to defend itself against Russia, not to attack it.

Ukraine can’t use American-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to destroy ammunition dumps or command posts on the Russian side of the border. It can’t use recently provided long-range missiles to attack military or logistical targets within Russia. It presumably can’t even use US-provided air defenses to target Russian aircraft that use lethal “glide bombs” to pound the front lines around Kharkiv without ever leaving Russian airspace.

This policy makes no sense morally — and it is becoming crippling strategically.

In 2024, there was some progress on this issue. For example, after his visit to Kyiv, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that Ukraine had the right to strike Russian territory with UK-supplied weapons.

Ukraine is currently receiving weapons from Western partners with a public warning to avoid using them outside Ukraine. However, this approach can change, and moreover, it is already changing. 

President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Ukraine’s partners to allow Kyiv to use Western weapons to strike military targets in Russia on May 26

“Destroying this terrorist force, and thus saving thousands of lives and guaranteeing that the expansion of the war will be stopped, is purely a political decision. A decision that needs to be made.”

U.S. officials have repeatedly said that they do not support or encourage Kyiv’s strikes with American weapons deep inside Russia, while Ukrainian officials are reportedly trying to convince Washington to lift this ban.

Washington has begun to discuss the decision to allow Ukraine to use U.S. weapons on Russian territory, citing informal conversations on the sidelines of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

German Green Party politician Anton Hofreiter recently spoke in favor of the idea in order to protect Ukrainian civilians.

It was no secret that Russia was preparing to attack Kharkiv, although the timing did apparently surprise the Ukrainians. But Kyiv could do little to impede the buildup taking place just across the frontier, because the US opposes the use of American capabilities for cross-border attacks. 

But officials involved in the discussion said Blinken’s position changed as the Russians had launched a new offensive. Russian troops have deployed weapons just across the border from Ukraine’s northeast and aimed them at Kharkiv, knowing that Ukrainians would only be able to use non-US drones and other weapons to retaliate. Ukraine so far has been using home-produced drones for its strikes in Russia. 

On its side The NYT pointed out that for the last few months, Ukraine had been stepping up attacks on Russian vessels, oil facilities and power plants, but it had been doing so mostly with domestically produced drones, which did not have the power and speed of American weapons. In addition, the Russians often shoot down Ukrainian drones and missiles or jam them off-course through advanced electronic warfare devices.

Pressure is now mounting on the United States to help Ukraine strike military targets in Russia, even if Washington wants to maintain its ban on attacking oil refineries and other Russian infrastructure with US-supplied weapons.

Biden’s strategy has shifted before: He has repeatedly declined to provide Ukraine with certain weapons, for fear of escalation, only to relent. There are hints the US position on cross-border strikes may be changing, too. That shift needs to happen now — to help Ukraine get through the ugly months ahead.

Here is an infographic and statements below of leaders and government officials.

Infographic: RvsW


Ukraine is exposed to an unprovoked and illegal war of aggression by Russia. According to international law, Ukraine has the right to defend itself by means of hostilities aimed at the territory of the adversary as long as the hostilities comply with the laws of war. Sweden stands behind international law and Ukraine’s right to defend itself.

Minister for Defense Pål Jonson


If there are facilities from which Russia is attacking Ukraine, Ukraine has the right to retaliate even if these facilities are located on Russian territory. Such use of weapons is permitted by international law.

Latvian Foreign Ministry, Baiba Braže

What we see is the consequence of our inability to provide Ukraine with weapons and also putting restrictions [on using] those weapons to strike military targets in Russia.

Latvian President, Edgars Rinkēvičs


“From the beginning, we have made the mistake of limiting the Ukrainians because it could be seen as an escalation,”

“The Ukrainians must be allowed to use the equipment provided to them so that they can achieve strategic objectives,” 

“They must be able to strike Russian territory, supply lines, and military units preparing to attack Ukraine.

“Only one side has rules imposed on it. We must abandon these rules that we created.”

We are afraid of what Russia might think, how Russia might react, how Russia might act, and this fear of ours looks like an invitation not only to take more aggressive actions in Ukraine through horrific attacks on civilian facilities, destruction of supermarkets, killing children, women, and innocent people, but also in an invitation to act in our countries.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.


“I consider it entirely legitimate for Ukraine to attack military and other targets within Russia that support the war in order to slow the progress of the Russian war machine”

Ukraine is at war. Russia is not limiting itself in attacking the country. Nor can we limit ourselves in the assistance we provide to the Ukrainians.

Estonian President Alar Karis


At the moment, the big countries that, among other things, have provided long-range missile systems, of course, also have the right to specify how they should be used.

Finnish Defense Minister, Antti Hakkanen


Ukraine is actually being attacked from bases in Russia,” he said on Tuesday. “We must allow them to take out the military sites the missiles are fired from, essentially the military sites from which Ukraine is attacked.

French President Emmanuel Macron

“It seems that the time has come… The right to self-defence excludes the right to sanctuary of the aggressor’s territory,”

Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Chairman of the French National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee


“Poland backed the right of Ukraine to strike at military targets inside Russia, the west had to stop constantly limiting itself in what it does to support Ukraine.”

“Poland backed the right of Ukraine to strike at military targets inside Russia, the west had to stop constantly limiting itself in what it does to support Ukraine.”

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski


“It is up to us to decide what form of assistance we will choose,”

“I am in favor of looking for new ways, including continuing the discussion about a possible presence in Ukraine. Let’s not limit ourselves where we shouldn’t.”

Czech President Petr Pavel

As a country under attack, Ukraine certainly has every right to use all means of defence,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala said in Prague on Tuesday, describing the position as “simply logical.”

Petr Fiala, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

The UK 🇬🇧

Ukraine has that right. Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called  to allow Ukraine to strike military targets inside Russia with weapons provided to it.

“Denying Ukraine the ability to use these weapons against legitimate military targets on russian territory makes it very difficult to defend itself,”

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron


“Netherlands had no restrictions and that she hoped “other countries that have different positions will change that”.

“It is quite feasible that they have to strike also inside Russia”

Dutch minister Kajsa Ollongren

Key backers including the United States and Germany have been reluctant to permit Kyiv to strike targets in Russia out of fear that it could drag them closer to direct conflict with Moscow.


“This is about protecting the Ukrainian population. Therefore, we should not prevent Ukraine from using the weapons it has received to defend itself against Russian fighters in Russian airspace”

International law allows a state that has been attacked to attack military targets in the aggressor’s country. This is part of self-defence. After all, the Russian army is bombarding the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which has a population of one million, day and night from its territory, including with glide bombs that strike in just 40 seconds”

Anton Hofreiter, politician from the German Green Party

“There are clear rules that have been agreed with Ukraine and that apply to the supply of German weapons. At least, that is my position,” he said, adding that his policy toward Ukraine aims to “prevent the conflict from escalating into a major war.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz


“I think we have to be very careful, I agree that NATO must remain firm, and show no signs of weakness.”

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni

“All the military equipment we send is intended for use solely within the territory of Ukraine”

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani

The US🇺🇸

White House is debating whether to allow Ukraine to use US-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging President Joe Biden to lift the restrictions after a sobering trip to Kyiv.

US Secretary of State,  Antony J. Blinken

They need to be able to fight back. And I think us trying to micromanage their effort there is not good policy for us.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives M. Johnson

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