Sweden Says Ukraine Can Use Swedish Weapons on Russian Territory

NATO weapons being used on Russian territory risks a major response

Sweden has given Ukraine the green light to use Swedish weapons in attacks on Russian territory, a move that’s seen as an effort to influence other NATO countries that supply long-range missiles to do the same, The Defense Post reported on Monday.

Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson was asked about the possibility of Ukraine using Swedish weapons on Russian territory and replied, “Ukraine has the right to defend itself through military actions aimed at the enemy’s territory as long as the military actions comply with the laws of war.”

Since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, Sweden has provided Ukraine with about $3.5 billion in military aid, including anti-ship missiles, anti-tank launchers, and Archer self-propelled howitzers. According to the Ukrainian news site Defense Express, the Archer howitzers could hit targets up to about 37 miles if armed with GPS-guided Excalibur artillery shells. However, Russian electronic warfare has rendered the Excalibur shells ineffective.

Jonson’s comments came amid growing calls for Ukraine to be allowed to use NATO missiles on strikes in mainland Russia in the wake of Moscow’s Kharkiv offensive, which was launched from Russia’s Belgorod oblast. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg joined the calls on Sunday, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is reportedly pushing for President Biden to lift the restriction on Ukraine’s use of US weapons.

On Monday, the Kremlin condemned Stoltenberg’s comments. “NATO is increasing the degree of escalation,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “NATO is flirting with military rhetoric and falling into military ecstasy.”

The UK has said Ukraine could use arms it has provided on Russian territory, but there’s no sign yet that British missiles have been used in strikes inside Russia, although both US and British weapons have frequently been used in attacks on Crimea. But Russia appears to have set a red line on NATO weapons hitting the Russian mainland.

After UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Ukraine could use British missiles on Russian territory, Russia warned the UK that it could strike British military sites in Ukraine and “beyond” in response.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.