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Bundestag defense chair backs Germany’s decision to allow Ukraine to strike Russian military targets

In light of Russia’s offensive in Kharkiv Oblast and intensified attacks on civilians, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chair of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee, welcomed Germany’s policy shift allowing Ukraine to use German-supplied weapons against Russian military targets but emphasized that this decision “should have happened much earlier”.
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chair of the Bundestag's Defense Committee
Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chair of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee. Source: Bundestag
Bundestag defense chair backs Germany’s decision to allow Ukraine to strike Russian military targets

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Chair of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee, welcomed the German government’s policy shift that permits Ukraine to use German-supplied weapons against military targets on Russian soil, according to an interview with the dpa news agency on 4 June, as per DW. 

Since Russia began an offensive in Kharkiv Oblast and intensified attacks on civilians in all regions, Ukraine asked the allies to allow striking Russian territory with Western-provided weapons, making the US and the EU countries dive into a debate, with many partners eventually lifting the weapon’s restrictions.

Strack-Zimmermann asserted that international law explicitly allows for targeted attacks as a means of defense, granting Ukrainians the right to defend themselves with the assistance of weapons and materials provided by Germany, according to DW.

She emphasized that this applies solely to military targets and that the decision “should have happened much earlier.”

The defense committee chair outlined two options for Ukraine to protect and defend its territory. First, Ukraine needs air defense systems to destroy approaching planes, drones, and missiles. Second, Ukraine should be able to destroy Russian military positions from which attacks are launched to prevent further aggression.

“The fact that the Chancellor – or rather his advisers – have always excluded this means that Vladimir Putin assumed that massive Russian attacks on Ukraine can occur without an appropriate response and without this war reaching Russian territory,” Strack-Zimmermann said.

 She noted that Germany has already provided air defense systems such as IRIS-T and Patriot, but called on other European countries to participate more actively.

The defense committee chair also reiterated her support for supplying German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, stating that the discussion surrounding these weapons is based on the need to destroy Russian supply routes and prevent a Russian breakthrough in Kharkiv Oblast.

On 10 May, Russian forces launched a new offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, with the city of Vovchansk being their main target. However, Ukrainian forces stabilized the situation on the Kharkiv front and even initiated a counteroffensive in some areas.

On 31 May, the German government announced that it would allow Ukraine to use German-supplied weapons to strike targets within Russia, although it will not resume debates on providing Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles.

The UK, Poland, Lithuania, Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Czechia, France, and Finland believe Ukraine has a legitimate right to strike Russian territory in self-defense.

Read more:

ISW: Lack of clarity on US weapons restrictions for Kyiv enables Russian military threats along Ukraine’s border

Ukraine’s “hands tied” by US weapons restrictions to strike inside Russia

The NYT: US debates relaxing restrictions on Ukraine’s use of its weapons to strike targets inside Russia

Ukraine launches website on Western components in Russian missiles and weapons

Zelenskyy: restrictions on ATACMS use should be dropped

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