Moscow warns West after Ukraine told it can hit Russia with Western weapons

Russia has accused Nato and the US of “provoking a new level of tension” after the US and Germany became the latest allies to let Ukraine’s military to use Western-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

A Berlin spokesman said Germany was convinced Ukraine had the right to defend itself from Russia, especially from cross-border attacks on its second largest city Kharkiv.

US officials said American-supplied weapons could be used to counter Russian fire near the Kharkiv region, either where Russian forces were “hitting them or preparing to hit them”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the decision would help protect civilians living in villages close to the Russian border.

Biden allows Ukraine to hit some targets in Russia with US weapons

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Nato countries, especially the US and several European countries, had “entered a new round of escalating tension and they are doing this deliberately”, in remarks quoted by the Tass news agency.

“They are in every possible way provoking Ukraine to continue this senseless war.”

Russian forces have made gains in the Kharkiv region in recent weeks after a surprise offensive in the area, close to the border with Russia.

The UK and France had already signalled they were open to easing restrictions on Ukraine striking military sites on Russian territory, before US President Joe Biden said on Thursday night that American-supplied weapons could be used.

However a US official told the BBC: “Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of Army Tactical Missile System [ATACMS] or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed.”

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said on Friday that Berlin was “jointly convinced” that Ukraine had the right to defend itself from Russian attack.

“To do this, it can also use the weapons supplied for this purpose in accordance with its international legal obligations; including those supplied by us,” he said.

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