Putin warns of arming allies to strike the West in retaliation

Putin was speaking to foreign journalists
Putin was speaking to foreign journalists Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning on Thursday, saying Moscow could arm allies with weapons to strike the West in retaliation for the flow of weapons Ukraine has received for use against Russia.

"If someone thinks it is possible to supply such weapons to a war zone to attack our territory and create problems for us, why don't we have the right to supply weapons of the same class to regions of the world where there will be strikes on sensitive facilities of those countries?" Putin said to foreign reporters.

The Russian leader's comments came after criticizing recent statements by Western leaders that they have given Ukraine the green light to use long-range weapons to hit targets inside Russia itself.

Putin singled out Germany, which told Ukraine it was free to strike Russian territory with German-made weapons. "When they say that there will be more missiles which will hit targets on Russian territory, this definitively destroys Russian-German relations," he stated.

The United States has also signed off on allowing Ukraine to use American arms to conduct strikes near the Russian border region around Kharkiv, though the White House said Ukraine cannot use longer-range ATACMS missiles on Russian soil.

However, a U.S. senator and Western official claimed this week that Ukraine has already used U.S.-provided weapons to attack inside Russia in recent days as fighting intensifies in the Kharkiv area.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron defended Ukraine's right to strike into Russia, saying "it is up to Ukraine to decide how to use" British weapons.

Putin warned that Russia's "response can be asymmetric" by providing similar firepower to unspecified "regions of the world" to target "sensitive facilities of those countries" arming Ukraine.

The exchange underscores the rising risks of escalation as Ukraine uses the Western-supplied long-range weapons not just for defense against Russian forces, but also to take the fight into Russia itself. Putin's threat hints at potentially providing weapons to allied nations or groups to strike targets in NATO countries.

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