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9 Jun, 2024 00:37

NATO ‘crossed red line’ – Austria

Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner has criticized Western states for allowing Kiev to use their weapons to strike Russia
NATO ‘crossed red line’ – Austria

Ukraine’s Western sponsors crossed a red line when they allowed Kiev to use their weapons to strike at targets in Russia, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner said in an interview to Die Presse published on Saturday.

Several NATO members have openly supported the use of Western-produced armaments for cross-border strikes against Russia in recent weeks, ostensibly in a limited manner. The West insists that it is still not a party to the conflict, and only supports Kiev’s efforts to stall Russia’s push into Kharkov Region, which Moscow launched to move the line of contact away from the border to prevent further Ukrainian attacks on Russian civilians.

“A red line has been crossed,” Tanner said when asked about the US, France, and Germany granting permission to use their weapons in cross-border strikes. When the interviewer asked how else Kiev could stall the Kharkov operation, the Austrian Defense Minister replied that “as a militarily neutral state, it is not our place to judge.”

Tanner added that she is at least “pleased that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has clarified that NATO will not be sending troops to Ukraine.”

In a press conference on Thursday, Stoltenberg said the US-led military bloc has no plans to deploy ground forces to Ukraine. Despite this, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday that he is almost ready to finalize an international coalition to officially send Western military “instructors” to train troops in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that Moscow has long been aware that Western military personnel are already fighting in Ukraine under the guise of “mercenaries” and “volunteers.”

Western-produced long-ranged armaments used by Kiev in cross-border strikes are also often controlled and serviced by these foreign troops, the Russian president said last month. And even if Ukrainians are pulling the trigger, the US and its allies are the ones providing Kiev intelligence on Russian targets, he added.

Moscow has warned that Western-backed long-range attacks on Russian territory will amount to direct Western participation in the conflict, and that Russia reserves the right to respond in kind. “We can respond asymmetrically,” Putin said on Wednesday, suggesting that Moscow could supply similar weapons around the world, where they could be used against Western targets.