Armed Forces Minister Says Ukraine Has A “Completely Legitimate” Right To Attack Targets In Russia
Armed forces minister James Heappey has said Ukraine has a “completely legitimate” right to attack military targets within Russia.
Speaking on Times Radio this morning, Heappey confirmed the UK government's support for Ukraine to target ammunition, fuel and logistics across the border, including using Western-donated weaponry.
Nato member states have been cautious about how military aid delivered to Ukraine is used by the state’s army. To deter Putin from escalating the war beyond Ukrainian borders, the West has previously only said its aid will only be used for defensive purposes.
“It’s completely legitimate for Ukraine to be targeting in Russia’s depth in order to disrupt logistics that if they weren’t disrupted would directly contribute to death and carnage on Ukrainian soil,” Heappey said.
“Things that the international community are now providing to Ukraine have the range to be used over the borders,” he added.
“When those bits of kit are used, you tend not to blame the country that manufactured it, you blame the country that fired it.”
Figures from Ukrainian officials indicate that since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began in February this year, around 15,000 Russian personnel have been killed.
Heappey told Sky news the high death toll is a result of Russian war tactics being “defined by incredible hubris” and “massive political interference”.
The minister added that Putin is determined to win the war by 9 May, when Russia celebrates Victor Day. The annual holiday commemorates the day when Nazi Germany surrendered to Soviet Union forces in 1945.
“There is pressure from Moscow to deliver a victory by 9 May so that Putin can have a nice parade through Red Square,” Heappey said.
“Driving the Russian army to launch an offensive now simply so Putin can have a nice day in the sun on the ninth is just going to cost Russia thousands more lives,” he added.
In a video address this week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky warned Putin that history is not on his side.
“The lessons of history are well known,” he said.
“If you are going to build a millennial Reich, you will lose,” he added.
Russia has claimed that overnight it killed 500 Ukrainian personnel after its air forces hit 87 military targets.
It comes as the country’s foreign secretary Sergei Lavrov has said the Kremlin hopes to reduce “serious and real” risks of nuclear war.
The secretary-general of the United Nations Antionio Guterres is due to meet Lavrov and Putin for face-to-face talks in Moscow next week.
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