Austrian defense minister criticizes US, France, Germany for enabling strikes in Russia

The flag of Austria
The flag of Austria

Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner believes that the United States, France and Germany have "crossed a red line" by allowing Ukraine to strike targets in Russia, she said in an interview with Die Presse on June 8.

"The red line has been crossed," Tanner stated firmly.

She also conveyed her approval of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's recent statement ensuring that NATO will not deploy troops to Ukraine, a point of contention amidst escalating military involvement.

Read also: Kyiv gets nod from Berlin to use German weapons inside Russia

The discussion arose from a journalist's question about the rationale behind Western countries' decision, which he argued was necessary for Ukraine to effectively defend itself, particularly in regions like Kharkiv Oblast, from Russian artillery fire. When asked whether Ukraine was justified in its actions, Tanner, representing a militarily neutral country, responded, "As a militarily neutral state, it is not for us to judge."

U.S. authorization for strikes on Russian territory

The New York Times on May 31 reported, citing unnamed White House officials, that U.S. President Joe Biden, under pressure from his advisers and key allies, had authorized Ukraine to conduct limited strikes on Russian territory with U.S.-made weapons.

On the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the White House had authorized Ukraine to strike Russian territory with US weapons.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Michael Carpenter told Voice of America that Washington authorized Ukraine to strike Russian territory not only to protect Kharkiv from Russian attacks, but also to defend other Ukrainian regions.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ukraine could strike at Russian territory using HIMARS, GMLRS, and American artillery shells. However, the green light from the United States does not include the use of ATACMS. They also clarified that the US is still against strikes deep into Russia.

Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom officially authorized the use of their weapons to strike Russian territory, Czechia, Poland, and other countries have supported this decision.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that it was better not to discuss Ukraine's right to strike Russian territory in public.

Bild reported on May 31 that Germany authorized Ukrainian Armed Forces to strike Russia with German weapons no further than 40 kilometers from the border. The journalists noted that government had spent several days discussing the matter, and the decision came immediately after a similar authorization was approved in the United States.

On the same day, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed that the country had authorized Ukraine to strike with German weapons on Russian territory, but in areas close to the border.

The AP news agency, citing an unnamed official from a Western country, also reported that Ukraine has already used American weapons to strike Russian territory.

Read also: U.S. may quietly greenlight Kyiv's strike inside Russia, says Ukrainian MP

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine