No sanctuary for the aggressor’s territory

More and more countries are calling for lifting restrictions on the use of Western weapons against Russia

For example, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps recently reminded that the United Kingdom was the first country to lift restrictions on its weapons, primarily in relation to Crimea. After all, Crimea is a territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. He also noted that he would like to see other countries follow suit. In addition, Shapps called on Germany to provide long-range weapons to Ukraine. This refers to Taurus cruise missiles, which Germany has been refusing to provide to Kyiv for a long time.

From the outset of the war, Ukraine’s allies, led by Washington, had been telling Kyiv not to strike inside Russian territory, in order to reduce the risk of escalation in the face of a nuclear power. This was tantamount to defending Ukraine without attacking Russia. But at the beginning of May, London, which supplies the Ukrainians with Storm Shadow cruise missiles, expressly authorized the Ukrainians to strike Russian soil. Last week, the United States followed suit, leaving Kyiv free to decide whether or not to do so.

Read also: Why Ukraine needs to strike targets inside Russia

In his turn, Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Chairman of the French Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, called on Paris to lift the taboo on Ukraine’s strikes on Russian territory with French weapons. He urges French leadership to change its doctrine, like Washington and London, and no longer prohibit Kyiv from striking Russia. “The time seems ripe”, says the international affairs specialist, who points out that Paris “has for months been expressing its desire to be at the forefront of solidarity with Ukraine and inter-allied coordination”. “The right to self-defense excludes the right to sanctuary for the aggressor’s territory.

For Jean-Louis Bourlanges, “this change in doctrine is perfectly legitimate insofar as it puts an end to the unacceptable asymmetry between the situation of the aggressor and that of the aggressed”. Militarily, the entire territory of Ukraine has been hit since the start of the war by Russian long-range weapons, but also by those supplied to Moscow by its allies, notably North Korean ballistic missiles and Iranian drones. Kyiv is also striking Russia in depth, but so far using home-grown weapons, in particular drones which have recently targeted energy installations.

“In the name of what right can we deny Ukrainians the right to respond blow for blow to the attacks of which they are the victims?” asked Bourlanges. In his opinion “The right to self-defense excludes the right to sanctuary for the aggressor’s territory”.

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