NATO should allow Ukraine to strike inside Russia, Latvia’s Foreign Minister has argued. The military alliance official insisted the West “should not fear” the likely consequences of such actions.
Talking in Bucharest earlier this week, Edgars Rinkevics said: “We should allow Ukrainians to use weapons to target missile sites or air fields from where those operations are being launched.”
Kyiv’s Western backers have so far held back on sending weapons capable of striking targets inside Russian territory.
Other NATO officials warned that allowing Ukraine to take out such targets would be a step “too far”.
Michael McCaul, who is set to take over as chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee in January, told Bloomberg that strikes inside Russia “would trigger a massive response from Russia and that truly would escalate the situation”.
He added: “You have to weigh in the tremendous backlash and that world public opinion.
“The Ukrainians have done a phenomenal job being on the right side of this issue with the public opinion in their favour. That would be a step perhaps too far.”
Mr Rinkevics had, however, already dismissed such sentiments, arguing that NATO members “should not fear” escalation.
He added that other alliance members believed Ukraine should not be limited on its weapon use, but agreed this was ultimately down to which weapons the West hands to Kyiv.
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He said “we don’t want problems with the other countries” over potential Ukrainian strikes in Russian territory.
Italy itself, Mr Tajani stressed, is “not in danger directly”, and “we are against an escalation of the conflict”.
Responding to Mr Rinkevics’s comments, the Russian Embassy in Riga expressed its shock in a post on Telegram that the suggestion had come not from “some frenzied military expert” but “the head of the Latvian diplomatic department”.
The statement added: “What is this, if not incitement to unleash a large-scale war?!”