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Italy rules out use of its weapons for long-range Ukrainian strikes on Russia

Several other NATO member states are supporting the deployment of Western arms for such attacks

Italy’s constitution prohibits its weapons being used by Ukraine to strike targets deep inside Russia, two of the country’s ministers have said. A number of other NATO member states have spoken in favor of Kiev using long-range missiles against targets on Russian territory.

On Friday, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto cited an article of the country’s constitution that imposes conditions on the use of the weapons.

“They must be used for the defense of Ukraine, which includes striking Russians in Ukraine, but they cannot be used on the territory of another country,” Crosetto said, as quoted by the ANSA news agency.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani also ruled out the use of the nation’s weapons in Russia.

“It is impossible for our weapons to be used outside Ukraine,” Tajani said on Friday at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague, according to ANSA.

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“We are not fighting against Russia. We are defending Ukraine, [it] is not the same,” he added, as quoted by Turkish news agency Anadolu.

Tajani said Italy would not be sending troops to Ukraine but that it was ready to provide the country with more weapons.

Earlier on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine had the right to defend itself, which includes the right to strike legitimate military targets inside Russia, according to Anadolu.

The NATO chief also dismissed Russian warnings of retaliation, saying the bloc had heard such warnings many times before.

Earlier this week, President Vladimir Putin warned NATO member states against allowing Ukraine to fire their weapons deep inside Russia and warned that such strikes would lead to an escalation of the conflict.

The Ukrainian leadership has been pressuring NATO countries in recent weeks to allow Kiev’s forces to use Western-supplied arms to hit targets on Russian territory.

Several NATO states, such as Norway, Finland, Latvia, and Poland, had earlier said they were in favor of such strikes. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was previously opposed to directly attacking Russia, has reportedly made a U-turn and said Ukraine was allowed to target Russia with German weapons – at least for the defense of the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, according to Bild newspaper.

READ MORE: US backs cross-border missiles attacks on Russia – Kiev

Russian forces launched a surprise offensive in Kharkov Region and have made significant gains there in recent weeks.

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden reportedly gave Ukraine the green light to use American-provided weapons to strike targets in the part of Russia bordering Kharkov Region.

May 31, 2024 at 05:57PM

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