KYIV: Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Sunday that Kyiv would not use new long-range weapons from the West to strike targets in Russia.
“On Friday our partners decided to provide us with weapons capable of firing at a distance of 150 kilometres,” or around 90 miles, Reznikov told a news conference.
“We always tell our partners that we take an obligation not to use the weapons of foreign partners against the territory of Russia, only against their units in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for the purpose of de-occupying our land,” he said.
Fierce battles in Bakhmut as Russian missiles hit Kharkiv
The United States on Friday announced a new $2.2 billion package of arms and munitions for Ukraine, which the Pentagon said included a new rocket-propelled precision bomb that could nearly double Kyiv’s strike range against Russian forces.
They potentially give Kyiv’s forces the ability to strike anywhere in the Russian-occupied Donbas, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, as well as the northern part of occupied Crimea.
France and Italy for their part are expected to deliver mobile surface-to-air missile systems.
In an interview with the weekly Bild am Sonntag published Sunday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreed that weapons supplied by the West would not be used to attack Russian territory.
Reznikov also told reporters that Kyiv expected a possible Russian offensive later this month. On February 24, the Kremlin will mark one year since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.
“Not all Western weapons” will arrive by the time of a possible Russian offensive this month, Reznikov said, though he added that Kyiv had the resources to respond.