The Russian embassy in the UK on Wednesday slammed London over British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s comments about Ukrainian attacks inside Russia.
In response to a drone attack that hit Moscow on Tuesday and targeted residential buildings, Cleverly said Kyiv has the right to “project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia’s ability to project force into Ukraine itself.” He added that “legitimate military targets beyond its own borders are internationally recognized as being part of a nation’s self-defense.”
In response, the Russian embassy said Cleverly was encouraging Ukrainian attacks on civilians. “The hostile statements by Britain’s top `diplomat’ cannot be viewed as anything but an attempt to encourage the Kiev regime to carry out more attacks on civilian facilities and our civilians,” the embassy said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
“Apparently, from their windows, the Foreign Office — or Estonia — sees residential blocks in Moscow as ‘legitimate military targets,’” the embassy added.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chair of Russia’s security council and former president, also responded to Cleverly’s comments, warning British officials are “legitimate military targets” for Moscow because of the UK’s role in the war.
“The goofy officials of the UK, our eternal enemy, should remember that within the framework of the universally accepted international law which regulates modern warfare, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions with their additional protocols, their state can also be qualified as being at war,” Medvedev wrote in English on Twitter.
“Today, the UK acts as Ukraine’s ally providing it with military aid in the form of equipment and specialists, i.e., de facto is leading an undeclared war against Russia. That being the case, any of its public officials (either military, or civil, who facilitate the war) can be considered as a legitimate military target,” the former president added.
Cleverly’s comments came after the UK began supplying Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles, which can hit targets up to 250 kilometers (155 miles) away, a longer range than the rockets the US has been providing Kyiv. The British have been leading the charge in escalating NATO involvement in the war, including being the first country to promise Western-made tanks. The UK also played a role in pressuring President Biden to sign off on the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine.