Ukraine urges NATO to lift curbs on targeting Russia


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to US President Joe Biden amid a NATO summit.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke to US President Joe Biden amid a NATO summit.

Ukraine has urged the NATO military alliance to lift restrictions on use of long-range weapons against targets in Russia, saying it would be “game-changer” in its war.

NATO members issued a declaration in support of Ukraine at a summit in Washington DC on Wednesday, promising additional aid and pledging to support its “irreversible path” to NATO membership. 

NATO leaders will hold a two-hour session with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday afternoon.

Andryi Yermak, the chief of the Ukrainian president’s cabinet, said he was “satisfied” with NATO’s summit statement on Wednesday but added: “The partners have to take off any restrictions to use weapons not just by Ukrainian territory but have the possibility to answer (Russian attacks) including the territory of Russia.

He told a public forum on the final day of the three-day NATO summit that Russia had no restrictions and it would be “a real game-changer” if Ukraine’s allies could lift all limits on the use of the weapons they supply to Ukraine.

NATO members have taken different approaches to how Ukraine can use weapons they donate. 

Ukrainian soldiers
Ukrainian officials say the country’s forces need to be able to strike into Russian territory. (AP PHOTO)

Some have made clear Ukraine can use them to strike targets deep inside Russia while the United States has taken a narrower approach, allowing its weapons to be used only just inside Russia’s border against targets supporting Russian military operations in Ukraine.

The United States and its allies have used this week’s summit to project unity in the face of what the see as a rising threat to Europe from Russia and China.

US President Joe Biden declared on Wednesday that “We can and will defend every inch of NATO territory”.

Andryi Yermak
Presidential adviser Andryi Yermak says Ukraine is “satisfied” with the outcome of a NATO meeting. (EPA PHOTO)

NATO and the so-called Indo-Pacific Four – Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – countries are set to launch new joint projects at the summit on Ukraine, artificial intelligence, disinformation and cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, the Russian capital Moscow was targeted in an overnight Ukrainian drone attack for the first time in weeks.

Moscow mayor Sergey Sobyanin said the unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down, in a post on Telegram on Thursday. 

He said the incident had ended without serious consequences as the drone was hit near the small town of Stupino, south of the capital.

Moscow is almost 700km from Russia’s border with Ukraine and is rarely targeted by Ukraine. 

Sobyanin last reported an attempted attack a month ago. 

Most strikes occurred last year, when locations including the Moscow City business centre were hit.

Since then, air defences around Moscow have been massively reinforced.

Although Sobyanin said there was no damage to his city, other Russian regions were struck. 

The Belgorod region on the border with Ukraine was the worst affected. 

A man was killed in a village when a car was hit by a drone, authorities said.

In the border town of Shebekino, seven other people were injured by shelling, according to Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. 

Most of the victims suffered shrapnel injuries.

Ukraine has been striking objects important to the Russian war machine, including fuel depots and military airfields. 

Two days ago the fuel depot in the Volgograd region was attacked, likely forcing it to cease operations for three months.

with DPA