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Zelenskyy Urges Britain to Help Fight  07/19 06:17

   

   LONDON (AP) -- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Britain's new government 
to help Ukrainian forces attack deeper inside Russia to stop deadly missile 
strikes on his country, as he gave a rare address by a foreign leader to a U.K. 
Cabinet meeting.

   Zelenskyy said "long-range capability" to destroy sites where Russian 
weapons are concentrated is key to Ukraine's defense.

   "I ask you to show your leadership" in lifting restrictions on Ukraine's use 
of Western weapons, Zelenskyy told Prime Minister Keir Starmer.

   Russia has deployed devastating firepower as it pursues a summer offensive 
in eastern Ukraine, reducing villages to rubble and pushing back Ukrainian 
troops in places. It has also launched missile and drone attacks across 
Ukraine, killing dozens and hitting targets including a Kyiv children's 
hospital.

   Some of Kyiv's allies are reluctant to let Ukraine use their weapons to 
strike Russian territory because of concerns that the West could be drawn into 
direct conflict with Russia. The British government has said it's up to Ukraine 
how to use missiles supplied by the U.K., as long as international law is 
upheld.

   In an interview with the BBC, Zelenskyy said he was seeking clarification 
about Ukraine's ability to use Storm Shadow missiles supplied by Britain 
against targets in Russia. The Storm Shadow is an air-launched cruise missile 
with a range of more than 250 kilometers (155 miles).

   "We need a decision about long-distance weapons, long range, to use it," 
Zelenskyy said. "We need it very much. They're targeting our hospitals, 
schools. We just want to answer exactly to the point where from they target us."

   U.K. Defense Secretary John Healey said Ukraine already has permission to 
use the missiles against Russia, but the rules for exactly what can be targeted 
and under what circumstances are "complex questions" that are the subject of 
intense negotiations.

   "We're providing weapons to Ukraine for their defense of their sovereign 
country, and that does not preclude them hitting targets in Russia, but that 
must be done by the Ukrainians. It must be done within the parameters and the 
bounds of international humanitarian law," Healey told the BBC.

   The United States, Ukraine's biggest military backer, recently shifted its 
position, with the Pentagon saying last month that Ukraine could use 
longer-range missiles provided by the U.S. to strike targets inside Russia if 
it is acting in self-defense.

   Since the beginning of Russia's 2022 invasion, the U.S. had maintained a 
policy of not allowing Ukraine to use the weapons it provided to hit targets 
inside Russia for fear of further escalation.

   Zelenskyy received a standing ovation from Starmer's government as he 
entered the Cabinet room at 10 Downing St. The last foreign leader invited to 
address a Cabinet meeting in person was U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1997.

   Zelenskyy briefed ministers on the situation in Ukraine and the need for 
European countries to ramp up defense production in the face of Russian 
aggression.

   Zelenskyy said Ukraine had repelled Russian attempts to advance on Kharkiv, 
Ukraine's second city, showing that "we can stop any Russian attempt to expand 
the war."

   Starmer, whose center-left Labour Party government was elected two weeks 
ago, is keen to stress that the U.K.'s strong support for Ukraine will continue 
on his watch.

   Starmer said the U.K. would "double down" on support for Ukraine, including 
with a treaty that aims to help both countries ramp up military production. The 
U.K. is also giving Ukraine access to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) of 
export financing to purchase weapons.

   "Ukraine is, and always will be, at the heart of this government's agenda, 
and so it is only fitting that President Zelenskyy will make a historic address 
to my Cabinet," Starmer said in a statement. "Russia's incremental gains on the 
battlefield are nothing compared with the collective international support for 
Ukraine, or the strength of ties between our people."

   During a visit to Britain that included a summit of the European Political 
Community on Thursday, Ukraine's president repeated his increasingly urgent 
calls for more ammunition and weapons and tougher sanctions on Russia.

   European leaders at the summit agreed to tighten sanctions against a "shadow 
fleet" of hundreds of illegitimate and often decrepit ships the West says 
Russia is using to transport oil and evade sanctions.

   Leaders expressed support for Ukraine and concern about the direction of the 
United States on Thursday at the security-focused summit, which was clouded by 
worries about whether the U.S. will remain a reliable ally if Donald Trump wins 
a second presidency.

 
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