NATO Chief Gives Ukraine Green Light for Attacks Inside Russia

The statement comes as NATO members are sending longer-range weapons to Kyiv

NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg said Ukraine has the right to hit Russian military targets outside of Ukraine. The remarks were made as members of the North Atlantic alliance are preparing to send Kyiv weapons with longer ranges. The Kremlin has explained that it will claim more Ukrainian territory to offset the threat presented by the long-range arms.

“Ukraine has the right to self-defense,” Stoltenberg told Radio Free Europe on Tuesday. “And that includes also striking legitimate military targets, Russian military targets, outside Ukraine. That is international law and, of course, Ukraine has the right to do so, to protect itself.” This is the first time the NATO chief endorsed Ukrainian attacks inside of Russia.

After Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, the US and its allies began massive weapons shipments to Kyiv. However, the Western arms shipments were limited to shorter-range munitions in an effort not to provoke a massive war with Russia. Over time, the concern that Moscow will escalate to direct war with NATO over Ukraine has lessened and the White House has provided Ukraine with more advanced weapons systems.

Several NATO members are working on training Ukrainian pilots of F-16s, then transferring dozens of the advanced, American-made fighter jets to Kyiv. Stoltenberg did acknowledge that some alliance members placed restrictions on the arms sent to Ukraine, but others did not. The F-16s are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine later this year, but the delivery has been delayed several times.

At the start of the war, President Joe Biden was only willing to sign off on munitions with a range of 50 miles. Over the course of the war, European nations began transferring cruise missiles to Ukraine within the150 mile range. The White House has sent Kyiv rockets with a range of 100 miles and is considering sending missiles with a range of nearly 200 miles if Congress approves another round of funding for the war.

Russian forces are advancing in eastern Ukraine. As Kyiv loses more territory and struggles to find the men and arms to fight Moscow’s forces on the frontlines, Ukraine is launching attacks inside of Russia. The Kremlin often responds to those strikes by attacking Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.