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Ukraine free to attack Russian territory – newest NATO member — RT World News

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Kiev is within its rights to use Finnish-supplied weaponry as it sees fit, Helsinki has said

Ukraine is free to use the weapons it has received from Finland however it sees fit, including for attacks on Russian territory, senior officials in the NATO member state said on Thursday.

Unlike “larger countries” which have placed restrictions on the use of long-range weaponry provided to Kiev, Finland does not envision any limitations, Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen stated. 

“These larger countries, which have, among other things, provided these long-range missile systems, of course they also have a say in how they can be used,” Hakkanen told public broadcaster Yle.

The chair of the Finnish parliament’s Defense Committee, Jukka Kopra, confirmed to Yle that Helsinki “has not set such restrictions, and Ukraine has the right to use these weapons against military targets also on Russian soil.” 

The remarks echo statements by fellow NATO member Estonia. Speaking to Yle on Wednesday, the future commander of the Estonian Defense Forces, Andrus Merilo, suggested it was a “mistake” to limit Kiev’s use of Western-supplied weaponry to territory that Ukraine claims as its own. 

The deputy head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Aleksey Chepa, warned that hostile Finnish actions could ultimately trigger retaliation.

“Finland is a new NATO member. Today, many leaders are trying to curry favor as prominently as possible by declaring such positions,” Chepa stated.

The admission by senior Finnish officials is bound to “drastically worsen” ties with Moscow, the vice speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, argued. Damage will be done even if Helsinki backtracks and tries to “fix” the situation, the top senator added.

Finland has allocated total military aid worth €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) to Ukraine during the conflict with Russia. Helsinki, however, has rarely disclosed the actual contents of its packages, publicizing only the delivery of several Leopard 2R heavy mine breaching vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons, and other equipment. 

Finnish-made weapons have repeatedly been spotted in the inventory of Ukrainian forces, unverified footage circulating online shows. Kiev’s forces have been using modern Pasi-family armored personnel carriers, several of which have been destroyed by Russian forces. Other hardware of apparent Finnish origin includes older 23 Itk 61 anti-aircraft guns, as well as 120 Krh 85 92 towed mortars phased out from the active inventory of Finland’s military in the early 2000s.

Finland officially joined NATO last year, ending a long-standing policy of neutrality and becoming the US-led military bloc’s 31st member. It is set to be joined by Sweden after Hungary became the final NATO member to approve Stockholm’s bid earlier this week.

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