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NATO Sees a Real Threat

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Photo: "My message to President Putin is this: this NATO summit should be seen as a clear and unified determination by NATO allies and others present to support Ukraine and stand against Russian aggression," said Starmer during the summit in Washington. Source: president.gov.ua
Photo: "My message to President Putin is this: this NATO summit should be seen as a clear and unified determination by NATO allies and others present to support Ukraine and stand against Russian aggression," said Starmer during the summit in Washington. Source: president.gov.ua

The terrorist act by Russia, involving a missile strike on Ukrainian medical facilities on 8 July, is shifting the rhetoric of NATO member state leaders. Although the change is gradual, it is beginning to alter the global security landscape. Why? The threat posed by Russia is rapidly increasing, and hopes of negotiating with Russia at the expense of Ukraine are slowly fading.


The NATO summit, which began in Washington on 9 July, received significant impetus from the terrorist missile attack on Ukrainian civilian facilities on 8 July. Dozens were killed, including children, with many more injured and civilian medical facilities destroyed as a result of the 38 missiles of various types launched that morning. This event prompted NATO leaders to change their rhetoric.

The most powerful statement at the NATO summit in Washington was made by the newly appointed British Prime Minister, Labour leader Keir Starmer. He announced that Ukraine has the right to use British Storm Shadow missiles against military targets on Russian territory. In response to a Bloomberg reporter's question, Starmer stated that he would continue the policy of the previous government under Rishi Sunak regarding the use of British weapons by Ukraine.


Interestingly, Starmer's statement was stronger than the position of his predecessor, Conservative Rishi Sunak. Sunak was also very resolute, but he limited his statements to saying that Kyiv should decide how to use those missiles. Moscow's reaction was very nervous, calling it a "very dangerous statement." Unlike Starmer, Sunak did not explicitly say that Ukraine could use Storm Shadows to strike targets inside Russia.

However, it is worth noting what NATO members and Ukraine consider to be Russian territory and what the Kremlin considers Russian territory. NATO members and Ukraine consider Russia's territory as it was in 1991. The Kremlin considers all regions annexed by Russia, including those annexed since 2014—Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions—as its own. In these areas, the Russians consider even those parts and cities they failed to capture or were forced to return due to the Ukrainian counteroffensive as their own territory.

As is well known, Ukraine has repeatedly struck military targets in Crimea and other Ukrainian territories that the Russians consider theirs using British missiles. This led to hysterical statements from the Kremlin about crossing so-called "red lines," but Ukraine's partners had no objections to such strikes.


«Underlining the UK's commitment to protecting our country and our allies.

▪️Spending 2.5% of GDP on defence

▪️Strategic review of defence capabilities

▪️Standing up for Ukraine against Russia», - Keir Starmer, Prime

Minister of the United Kingdom, X (former Twitter).



Of course, as before, partners demanded that Kyiv use long-range weapons exclusively against military targets or infrastructure used by the Russian military. Starmer reiterated this on Tuesday, 9 July, emphasising that British missiles must be "used in accordance with international humanitarian law, as one would expect," and should be used "for defensive purposes."

Ukraine is once again insisting on receiving means for deep strikes on military targets inside Russia, such as military airfields, missile launch sites, military and naval bases, and logistical hubs. This issue is a key topic at the NATO summit in Washington. Additionally, Kyiv is calling for an enhancement of its air defence capabilities to protect its civilian, infrastructure, and other facilities from Russian air and missile strikes.

However, it is not straightforward. Before the NATO summit, Washington indicated it does not see the need to lift all restrictions on Ukraine's use of its weapons. The US still considers these restrictions necessary to avoid escalating the situation with Moscow. However, at the end of May, it was revealed that President Joe Biden allowed the use of American weapons for strikes across the border from Kharkiv region (northeastern Ukraine) against Russian forces that invaded Ukrainian territory here in early May.


Yet, as we see, Russia escalates the situation even with restrictions on Kyiv's use of Western weapons.

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