Ukrainian first lady says Putin won't stop even if 'territory ceded'
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The UK has announced it will send long-range rocket artillery to Ukraine despite a warning from Vladimir Putin that he will expand his war to new targets. It follows a refusal from the USA to send long-range weapons to Ukraine over fears they could be used to strike targets in Russia, therefore escalating the war to new and dangerous levels. The UK has sought assurances from Kyiv that the M270s being sent would not be used to strike targets within Russia.
But President Putin responded regardless, saying: “We will strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting.”
He did not specify where or what these new targets would be, but Russia’s bloody war in Ukraine is still raging, with Moscow make significant gains in the east of the country in recent days.
NATO, the USA, UK and EU have all offered a helping hand to Ukraine in the form of sanctions and weapons since the war broke out in February.
But the security alliance has refused to become directly involved in the war, citing its position as a defensive alliance that Ukraine is not a member of.
Could NATO declare war on Russia?
NATO has remained steadfast in its commitment to not be drawn directly into a war with Russia.
The security alliance has maintained that “NATO’s actions are defensive, designed not to provoke conflict but to prevent conflict.
“The Alliance has a responsibility to ensure that this war does not escalate and spread beyond Ukraine, which would be even more devastating and dangerous.”
But there are some caveats to this commitment, such as the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons – or if the conflict spills over into NATO territory.
The USA raised concerns that the delivery of long-range weapons could muddy the waters, with the weapons being used to target Russia or accidentally spilling over into its territory.
A British defence source said the weapons will be used “to defend Ukraine, in Ukraine”.
They added: “We have confidence that the weapons will be used appropriately.”
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The use of illegal weapons could also provoke a military response from NATO.
In March, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey warned Russia should think twice about using chemical weapons in Ukraine, as it could trigger “an international response”.
In the early days of the conflict, western officials were concerned that the Kremlin could authorise the use of chemical and biological weapons to speed up the conflict.
Mr Heappey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “President Putin needs to be clear that the use of chemical weapons is just the most despicable thing that anyone can imagine.
“As horrid as the pictures we are seeing on our TV screens today of an artillery strike against a hospital (are), they are but nothing by comparison to the suffering and devastation that chemical weapons cause.”
Pressed on if it would be a ‘red line’, he said: “I don’t think it’s helpful to get into any firm commitment right now about where that red line sits.
“But I think President Putin needs to be very clear about when other countries have used chemical weapons, it has caused an international response.
“And I think that the US are right to declassify the intelligence so that Putin knows that we know that he’s got this under consideration.
“And I think he should reflect very urgently on what has happened to other countries where they have used this.”
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