Macron Says Kyiv Must Be Able to Hit Russian Missile Sites

(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine must be allowed to target missile crews inside Russia with European-supplied weapons, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.

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“Ukraine is actually being attacked from bases in Russia,” Macron said Tuesday at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after talks near Berlin. “We must allow them to take out the military sites the missiles are fired from.”

At the same time, he cautioned that to avoid what he called “escalation,” the government in Kyiv mustn’t be permitted to hit other targets inside Russia. He also announced that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will make another visit to Paris next week, coinciding with celebrations marking the World War II D-Day landings.

The US and Germany in particular have been cautious about delivering military equipment that would have the range to hit targets inside Russia because of the risk of a broader conflict.

Ukraine’s allies are stepping up efforts to send more air-defense assets, but striking where attacks originate could help mitigate the cost of defending cities with expensive missiles.

Kyiv’s forces are struggling to defend the Kharkiv region from Russian air attacks, given its proximity to the border.

Read More: EU States Mull Letting Ukraine Hit Russia With Their Weapons

Scholz said that as the target of an aggression, Ukraine has the right to defend itself, and that it has “every option according to international law for what it is doing.”

“I find it odd that there has been talk of it not being allowed to defend itself and take measures that serve that purpose,” he told reporters, adding that Kyiv has agreed to conform to international law when deploying weapons it has been supplied with. “That has worked well in practice so far and will continue to do so,” he said.

The German leader agreed with Macron in his assessment that Europe will have to contribute more to burden-sharing in the transatlantic relationship with the US.

“We will therefore further expand our Franco-German cooperation in the areas of security, defense and armaments — specifically in the development of deep-strike precision weapons,” Scholz said. “We have agreed to work together with the UK to move this forward.”

Macron also announced a new Franco-German anti-missile defense collaboration that must be developed by Europe.

Asked about the possibility of France joining the German-led European Sky Shield Initiative, both Scholz and Macron noted that due to Paris having its own arsenal of nuclear weapons, it’s in a very different position than Germany.

Known by its acronym ESSI, the initiative aims to strengthen European air and missile defense through the joint acquisition of equipment. About 20 countries have signed up so far.

“Of course it would be easier to finance, the more countries are involved,” Scholz said. He said the key focus is to bind the program into NATO strategy, and that Germany and France are “completely in agreement” on how to achieve that.

(Updates with comments from Scholz starting in seventh paragraph)

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