Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called for NATO to allow Ukraine to conduct strikes inside Russian territory, adding the alliance should not fear Moscow’s response. The White House has resisted sending Kiev missiles with the range to hit targets inside Russia.
During an interview on the sidelines of NATO summit in Romania, Rinkevics stated “[w]e should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or air fields from where those operations are being launched.” Allies “should not fear” escalation from Moscow, he added.
While the White House has not publicly told Kiev that it cannot hit Russian territory, in May, President Joe Biden said, “we’re not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that strike into Russia.”
However, the Biden administration has explicitly authorized attacks on the Crimean Peninsula, Ukrainian territory that was annexed by Russia in 2014. The Kremlin reacted sharply to a series of attacks in Crimea, including by destroying large swaths of Ukraine’s power grid.
Ukraine is seeking Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) with a range of nearly 186 miles. So far, the White House has only been willing to send Kiev munitions with a range of 50 miles. Ukraine has offered the Biden administration targeting control.
In June, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened that Russia would annex more Ukrainian territory if Kiev received longer-range weapons. “The longer the range of armaments that you will supply, the further away we will move from our territory the line,” he said.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani warned against direct confrontation with Russia. “We don’t want problems with the other countries,” he said, “we are not in danger directly.”
He went on to say Italy wanted to avoid escalation. “We are against an escalation of the conflict,” Tajani added.