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NATO Diplomats Gather Amid Ukraine’s Call for Long-Range Weapons Against Russia

Long-Range Weapons

NATO foreign ministers are set to meet in Prague amid increasing calls for leading allies to lift restrictions preventing Kyiv from using Western weapons to strike inside Russia.

The two-day gathering, starting on Thursday in the Czech capital, is aimed at formulating a comprehensive support package for Ukraine at NATO’s upcoming summit in Washington in July.

However, the ongoing debate over whether to permit Kyiv to use the longer-range weaponry supplied by Western backers to hit targets inside Russia is threatening to overshadow the meeting.

Ukraine has been lobbying its supporters, especially the United States, to allow it to use the longer-range weaponry they supply to target sites within Russia. This request has sparked divided opinions among NATO allies.

The US and Germany have so far refused to permit Kyiv to strike over the border, fearing it could escalate into a direct conflict with Moscow.

Despite this, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly suggested that it is time for members to reconsider these limits, as they hinder Kyiv’s ability to defend itself effectively.

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to shift the stance on Tuesday, stating that Ukraine should be allowed to “neutralize” bases in Russia used to launch strikes.

In contrast, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remained non-committal, emphasizing that Ukraine should act within legal boundaries and pointing out that Berlin has not supplied weapons to hit Russia.

The White House has maintained its opposition to Ukraine using US arms to strike inside Russia, although Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted that the strategy could change.

Moscow has reacted strongly to these discussions, with President Vladimir Putin warning of “serious consequences” if Western countries approve Ukraine’s request.

Advocates for giving Ukraine greater freedom argue that momentum is building for the United States and other allies to change course, as Kyiv struggles to counter Russia’s offensive in the Kharkiv region.

A NATO diplomat commented, “Clearly, President Macron’s ideas help allies who believe this rule should change. I hope the debates in the US will take Macron’s ideas into consideration.”

As NATO allies grapple with this issue, ministers in Prague are also focusing on developing a support package to satisfy Ukraine, whose hopes of eventual NATO membership remain distant.

Despite pressing hard at a summit last year, Kyiv has been told firmly by NATO countries, led by the US and Germany, that it should not expect significant progress toward joining the alliance in Washington. Instead, Stoltenberg wants NATO members to make clear, multi-year commitments on future aid to Ukraine.

Last month, Stoltenberg proposed a target figure of 100 billion euros ($108bn) over five years for aid to Ukraine, but this idea did not gain traction among allies who were uncertain about the specifics involved.

The ongoing discussions in Prague will be crucial in determining how NATO plans to support Ukraine both militarily and financially in the coming years, while also addressing the contentious issue of allowing Kyiv to strike targets within Russia.

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I am a dynamic professional, specializing in Peace and Conflict Studies, Conflict Management and Resolution, and International Relations. My expertise is particularly focused on South Asian Conflicts and the intricacies of the Indian Ocean and Asia Pacific Politics. With my skills as a Content Writer, I serve as a bridge between academia and the public, translating complex global issues into accessible narratives. My passion for fostering understanding and cooperation on the national and international stage drives me to make meaningful contributions to peace and global discourse.

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