Zelenskyy seeks Western support for preemptive strikes inside Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine needs a “political decision” from Western leaders to carry out preemptive strikes inside Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address to the nation on May 26.

He described the action as necessary to "destroy this terrorist force, thus saving thousands of lives and stopping the expansion of the war."

"While appreciating the condolences and condemnations of Russian terrorist actions from global leaders and international organizations, Kyiv awaits concrete steps," Zelenskyy stated. He emphasized the need for sufficient air defense systems to protect Ukraine and the importance of partners taking decisive actions against Russian threats preemptively.

Read also: Lithuania supports fewer limits on Ukraine's use of Western arms for Russian strikes

Further, Zelenskyy highlighted Ukraine's awareness of the buildup of Russian troops and their missile and aircraft launch sites, urging for an accelerated delivery of F-16 fighter jets to bolster Ukraine's defenses against attacks on its cities and military pressure at the front.

On the same day, Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson clarified that Ukraine could use weapons to strike inside Russian territory under international law, provided they adhere to the laws of war. "Sweden supports Ukraine's right of self-defense," Jonson added.

Use of Western weapons on Russian territory

Ukraine has been asking its partners for long-range weapons to strike targets deep inside Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory.

Read also: Russia targets Lviv Oblast in Western Ukraine in overnight drone attack

Some countries have already taken this step: the UK and France have transferred Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

The New York Times reported on May 22 that after a "sobering" visit to Kyiv, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged President Joe Biden to allow Ukraine to use American weapons against targets inside Russia.

Le Monde's analysis of Blinken's statements in Kyiv suggested that Ukraine might have received tacit approval from the U.S. to use American weapons on Russian targets. This comes as UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced a $3.74 billion annual military aid package to Ukraine on May 3, with no restrictions on using UK weapons against Russia, signaling a potential shift in Western policy towards more direct engagement.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated on May 26 his opposition to Ukraine using Western weapons to strike inside Russian territory.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine