The UK’s armed forces minister said in a Tuesday radio interview that it is "completely legitimate" for Ukraine to strike Russian territory, after allegations out of the Kremlin earlier this month that the Ukrainians have on a couple of occasions done just that in cross-border incidents.
The defense chief, James Heappey, told Times Radio in the remarks that, "In war, Ukraine needs to strike into its opponents' depth to attack its logistics lines, its fuel supplies, its ammunition depots, and that's part of it."
"It is completely legitimate for Ukraine to be targeting in Russia's depth in order to disrupt the logistics, that if they weren't disrupted would directly contribute to death and carnage on Ukrainian soil," he added.
Even more provocative is that he addressed the issue of weapons systems provided by Britain thus far since the Russian invasion in February. He said of the weapons provided that they "have the range to be used over the borders" in Russia, and quickly followed by stressing: "That is not necessarily a problem."
"Ukraine is targeting what I would say are completely legitimate targets to disrupt Russian logistics supplies, and they make those choices just as the Russians make choices to indiscriminately bomb Ukrainian towns and cities," he emphasized further.
In the interview he also rejected the latest Kremlin charge out of the foreign ministry that NATO is currently waging a "proxy war" that could eventually lead to nuclear showdown if the West isn't more restrained. Heappey assessed that chances of nuclear warfare were "vanishingly small" while denying the proxy war nature of the conflict.
V significant move by UK Govt today to throw full backing behind Ukraine's 'completely legitimate' right to attack Russian military targets INSIDE Russia— Lucy Fisher (@LOS_Fisher) April 26, 2022
Defence minister James Heappey backs Kyiv targeting Russian logistics/fuel/ammo over border
His remarks to @TimesRadio 👇 https://t.co/l7sIZ3WrRC pic.twitter.com/zUBgq6tc6v
Later in the day Moscow responded by warning of a "proportional response" in such a scenario of aggression laid out by Heappey...
"We would like to emphasize that London's direct provoking of the Kiev regime for such actions, in the event that they are implemented, will lead to an immediate and proportional response by Russia", the MoD said.
"As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are on round-the-clock standby to launch long-range precision-guided retaliatory strikes against the relevant decision-making centers in Kiev", the ministry asserted, according to a state media translation.
Given the weekly and near-daily escalation in both rhetoric and the heavier and more sophisticated weapons that the West is willing to pour into the conflict, the rising concerns of a Russia-NATO collision course are indeed warranted. Commenting on reports that Germany has approved sending anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, journalist Glenn Greenwald questions...
"Virtually every week, Biden announces new massive aid of cash and weapons to Ukraine. Every week, US/NATO announce greater involvement that, weeks earlier, was deemed unthinkable. It's a full-on proxy war. The risks are mind-boggling. What is being achieved that warrants this?"