May 27,2024

Victory Chronicles-DAY 824

NATO Secretary General calls for Ukraine to be allowed to attack Russia with allied weapons

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has called on allies to reconsider the restrictions preventing Ukraine from striking Russia with Western weapons amid ongoing border clashes in Kharkiv Oblast. Stoltenberg stressed that under international law, Ukraine has the right to self-defense, which includes targeting legitimate military objectives beyond its borders. He noted that Russian forces are attacking Ukraine from within Russian territory, and preventing Ukrainian forces from responding in kind severely limits their defensive capabilities.

Stoltenberg emphasized that allowing Russian troops to attack without opposition gives them a significant advantage. Consequently, he urged allies to review the current restrictions on the use of Western-supplied weapons, as these limitations hinder the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ ability to defend themselves effectively.


Symbolic number of the Day


Since February 24, 2022, Russian forces have inflicted significant harm on children in Ukraine. As of May 27, 2024, 548 children have been killed and 1,351 injured to varying degrees, according to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. The majority of these injuries occurred in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipro, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Mykolaiv.

The violence continues unabated. On May 25, a 12-year-old girl was killed in a Russian air strike on a hypermarket in Kharkiv. The following day, two boys, aged 9 and 12, were injured in a shelling incident in the village of Bohuslavka. Additionally, on May 26, a funeral was held in Odesa for four-year-old Zlata, who succumbed to injuries from a rocket attack on April 29.


War in Pictures


The death toll from a Russian attack on the Epicenter hypermarket in Kharkiv, Ukraine, may reach 18, according to the prosecutor’s office. As of May 27, 16 people have been confirmed dead, with 13 of them identified. Additionally, five individuals remain missing, and it is feared that two of them may have been killed. The prosecutor’s office is utilizing data from identified bodies, unidentified bodies, body fragments, and reports from relatives of the missing to ascertain the exact toll. The precise number of fatalities remains uncertain due to the presence of body fragments, which make it difficult to determine if they belong to one or multiple individuals. The prosecutor’s office stresses that they cannot definitively confirm the deaths of these missing persons. The attack on the hypermarket also resulted in 45 injuries.


Video of the Day

Police have released a video from the Epicenter hypermarket in Kharkiv, showing people inside and the moment the Russian bombs hit. Serhiy Bolvinov, Head of the Investigation Department of the Kharkiv Oblast Police, released the video and commented on it: “The video that investigators are currently working with shows the moment of impact. It is clearly seen that people were not prepared for such an attack. They were at their workplaces and going about their business. We are now studying every minute of the camera footage.”


ISW report


Western officials continue to publicly debate Ukraine’s right to use Western-provided weapons to strike military targets in Russia amid Russian efforts to persuade the West to continue its self-imposed limitations and divide the NATO alliance. Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski stated during an interview with The Guardian published on May 25 that Poland supports Ukraine’s right to strike military targets within Russia and that the West must stop “constantly limiting” its support for Ukraine.

Sikorski noted that Russia continues to strike civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and that Europe must improve its ability to “play the escalation game… by keeping Putin guessing.” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani stated on May 26 that Ukraine should only use Italian-provided weapons within Ukraine, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that there is “no reason” to lift the West’s restrictions on Ukraine’s use of Western weapons to strike within Russia as Germany’s restrictions “work.”

Chairperson of Ukraine’s Permanent Delegation to NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly Yehor Chernev insinuated that the White House is reviewing its policy restricting Ukraine’s ability to strike targets in Russia with US-provided weapons, which is consistent with the New York Times May 22 report that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is urging US President Joe Biden to lift these restrictions.

ISW continues to assess that Western limitations on Ukraine’s ability to strike military targets in Russia have created a sanctuary in Russia’s border area from which Russian aircraft can conduct glide bomb and missile strikes against Ukrainian positions and where Russian forces and equipment can freely assemble before entering combat.

Sikorski also insinuated during his May 25 interview that US officials have threatened to strike Russian military concentrations and frontline positions in Ukraine if Russia uses tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, which prompted a response from Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev who threatened that a US strike against a Russian target in Ukraine would “start a world war.”

Medvedev denied that the US has issued such a threat, criticized Sikorski as inept, and threatened that Poland would “get its share of radioactive ash” if NATO places tactical nuclear weapons in Poland. Medvedev issued this threat on his English language X (formerly Twitter) account, suggesting that his statements are meant for an international audience. Medvedev may be attempting to single out Sikorski’s statements as escalatory in order to drive a wedge between Poland and other NATO member states. Russian officials will likely continue to demand that the West respect arbitrary “red lines” on Western support for Ukraine in the face of continual Russian war crimes and aggression, particularly as the West continues to debate allowing Ukraine to use Western weapons to strike targets in Russia.


War heroes

Seaman Marian Biletskyi died on August 9, 2023, while performing a combat mission near the village of Staromayorske in Donetsk Oblast. He was fatally wounded as a result of an enemy mortar attack. The following month, on September 25, the defender would have turned 32.

Marian Volodymyrovych was born in the village of Nyzhnia Bilka, Lviv Oblast. He received a degree in auto mechanics. In civilian life, he worked at a construction site and was engaged in repairs. He was passionate about his work and liked making things with his hands. He spent his free time with family and friends.

The man was mobilized into the Ukrainian Navy on June 12, 2023. He served in the 36th Separate Marine Brigade named after Rear Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskyi. He was a scout. He managed to fight for only two months before an enemy shelling ended his life.

“Marian was a very loving husband and father. He always cared about his family, so he stood up to defend his family,” said his wife Valentyna. The fighter was buried in his native village. Marian is survived by his mother, wife and daughter. 

*Marian’s story on the Heroes Memorial – a platform for stories about the fallen defenders of Ukraine.


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