EDITORIAL Fire at the invader!

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«Take this good American hammer, Ukrainians! But make sure you don't hit any nails on the head with it!»
«The same goes for our German hammer! No need to escalate hatred for nails!»
«Take this good American hammer, Ukrainians! But make sure you don't hit any nails on the head with it!» «The same goes for our German hammer! No need to escalate hatred for nails!» Illustration: Urmas Nemvalts
  • Western leaders have imposed restrictions on themselves out of fear of escalating the conflict.
  • It seems that Russia has indeed managed to deter the West with its nuclear threats.
  • The US should allow Ukraine to strike Russian military targets with the missiles provided to them.

Russia would likely have lost the war in Ukraine long ago if Western countries had not imposed «red lines» on themselves. These have been numerous. Initially, tanks were not provided, then planes, and later long-range missiles. Additionally, there have been restrictions on using these weapons on Russian territory.

Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of US Army Europe, has repeatedly criticized US political leadership for imposing various limitations on themselves, which have encouraged Putin to continue the war. These restrictions have been abandoned one by one, but at the cost of time and Ukrainian defenders' lives.

Western leaders have imposed these restrictions on themselves, out of fear of escalating the conflict, more precisely, out of fear of Russia's nuclear threats, which its leadership has brandished at every opportunity. However, it is essential to remember that the situation cannot escalate further – Russia, driven by imperialist ambitions, has attacked Ukraine and has not set any limits on itself when it comes to attacking civilian infrastructure or the use of weapons prohibited by international conventions.

Western countries must allow Ukraine to strike military targets in Russia with the weapons provided to them.

The only limitation has been the use of nuclear weapons. As Ben Hodges has said, nuclear weapons work best as a deterrent: if they exist but are not used. It seems that Russia has indeed managed to deter the West with nuclear threats, delaying immediate and unlimited military aid. However, the use of nuclear weapons – even limited tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine – would not benefit Russia.

Firstly, it would not be well-received by the otherwise supportive Chinese, for whom a nuclear strike is a crucial red line. Secondly, the wind could carry radioactive contamination onto Russian troops or even into Russian territory, leaving a devastated land of little use to the invaders. Moreover, there is no doubt that a nuclear attack by Russia on Ukraine would not break the Ukrainians' will to defend, as they have nothing left to lose. Third, it is rumored that the United States has promised a devastating conventional strike on the source of any Russian nuclear attack.

This is where we get to the heart of the matter. Western countries must allow Ukraine to strike military targets in Russia with the weapons provided to them. This is especially a problem for the Kharkiv region, which is close to the Russian border. Russia fires from its territory with all its artillery, but, for example, Ukrainian-made self-propelled artillery cannot fire back into Russian territory if loaded with Western ammunition. Other sources of ammunition have largely been depleted.

This is an absurd restriction, and the sooner it is lifted, the better. Sweden has already allowed Ukraine to strike military targets in Russia with their weapons, and now France has also given its permission. If the United States permitted Ukraine to attack Russian bases with the long-range missiles it has provided, it would bring the end of the war closer.

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