Austria's Defense Minister on Ukraine Strikes: "Red Line Crossed"

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.09 - 2024 10:39 AM CET

Photo: Alexandros Michailidis /
Photo: Alexandros Michailidis /
Austria's Defense Minister warns that Western support for Ukrainian strikes on Russia has crossed a dangerous line.

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In a bold statement, Austria's Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner expressed her concerns over the Western decision to allow Ukraine to use supplied weaponry to strike Russian territory, asserting that a "red line" has been crossed.

The Controversy of Cross-Border Strikes

Tanner emphasized the gravity of this development, highlighting the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's clarification that NATO will not send troops into Ukraine.

"The red line has been crossed. Therefore, I am very glad about NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's clarification that NATO will not be sending troops to Ukraine," Tanner stated.

Despite Austria's military neutrality, Tanner refrained from commenting on whether Ukraine has the right to defend Kharkiv from cross-border shelling, maintaining Austria's non-judgmental stance.

NATO's Stance on Military Involvement

Stoltenberg confirmed on June 6 that NATO currently has no plans to deploy regular military forces in Ukraine, a sentiment echoed by Finnish President Alexander Stubb.

Similarly, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith noted that neither Washington nor NATO are considering sending military advisors to Ukraine, underscoring the alliance's commitment to avoid direct military involvement.

U.S. Greenlights Limited Strikes

On May 31, U.S. President Joe Biden permitted Ukraine to target Russian positions near the Kharkiv border with American weapons, though he explicitly prohibited strikes deeper into Russian territory, including Moscow and the Kremlin.

"We do not allow strikes 200 miles into Russia and do not sanction attacks on Moscow and the Kremlin," Biden clarified.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin remarked that such limited strikes would be "very useful" to Ukraine. Additionally, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have authorized Ukraine to use French and German missiles, respectively, for strikes on Russian territory.

Russia's Response to Western Decisions

The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, warned that the U.S. will be held accountable for enabling Ukraine to attack Russia with American weaponry. She accused Washington of deceit and warned of severe repercussions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin echoed these sentiments, describing Western-backed strikes on Russia as direct participation in the conflict.

"Such actions will ultimately destroy international relations and undermine global security... This is a path to very serious problems," Putin cautioned.

Putin also reaffirmed Russia's commitment to defending its interests and hinted at the possibility of supplying weapons to regions targeting sensitive areas in other states, suggesting an asymmetric response.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov further emphasized that Western arms supplies for strikes against Russia will not go unanswered, indicating a likely escalation in military and diplomatic tensions.

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