Germany says Ukraine has the right to strike Russian territory when it's self-defense
Ukraine is within its right to launch strikes on Russian territory when it qualifies as self-defense, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit told Deutsche Welle on May 31.
The statement comes a day after a drone attack on Moscow damaged several high-rise buildings. Russia accused Ukraine of orchestrating the attack, but Ukrainian officials have denied responsibility.
That morning, Russia launched yet another drone attack against Kyiv, targeting the capital for the 17th time in May. One person was killed, and at least 13 others were injured.
According to Hebestreit, "International law allows Ukraine to carry out strikes on the territory of Russia for self-defense. "Western officials have had mixed responses to drone attacks within Russian territory.
During a press conference on May 30, U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly acknowledged that Ukraine had "the legitimate right to (defend itself) within its borders, but it also has the right to project force beyond its borders to undermine Russia's ability to project force into Ukraine."
Meanwhile, a U.S. National Security Council spokesperson told CNN, "as a general matter, we do not support attacks inside of Russia."
Putin downplayed Moscow drone attack due to limited options to retaliate
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin attempted to downplay the recent drone attack on Moscow in order to "avoid exposing the limited options he has to retaliate against Ukraine," the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update on Russia's war in Ukraine.
Several drones were downed over the Russian capital on May 30 in the first attack on the city since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The drone attack caused minor damage to the exteriors and windows of buildings.
According to the D.C.-based think tank, Putin "insinuated" that the Moscow drone strike was Kyiv's response to Russian strikes, claiming that Russian forces had struck the Ukrainian military intelligence headquarters "two to three days ago." The Russian Defense Ministry has not mentioned a strike on Ukraine's intelligence headquarters, the ISW said.
"Putin’s emphasis on past and ongoing missile strikes is likely an attempt to signal that Russia is already actively retaliating and does not need to respond to further Ukrainian provocations," the ISW wrote.
At the same time, Putin has ordered constant and massive missile and drone strikes in apparent "retaliation" for Ukrainian actions, "likely due to Russian forces’ inability to achieve any decisive effects on the battlefield," according to the ISW.
Ukraine and Russia do not approve IAEA protection plan for ZNPP
Russia has not agreed to abide by the five principles laid out on Tuesday by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, to protect the Russian-occupied ZNPP. Ukraine, in turn, suggested adding two more points.
Grossi has been trying to work out an agreement to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident from military action for months.
The IAEA's five principles included a ban on attacks on or from nuclear power plants, as well as a ban on deploying heavy weapons such as multiple launcher rocket systems, artillery systems and munitions, as well as tanks or military personnel on the plant's premises.
The head of the IAEA also called for keeping the power plant accessible and secure, and for all of its major systems to be protected from any attacks or acts of sabotage.
Grossi called the situation in Zaporizhzhia "extremely fragile and dangerous" and added that military activity continues in the region and it may step up significantly soon enough.
While Russia has said it would do everything it could to protect the power plant it has occupied for more than a year, it has not made a clear commitment to comply with Grossi's five principles.
"Mr. Grossi's proposals to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhzhia NPP are consistent with the measures we have been implementing for a long time," said Vasily Nebenzya, the Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations.
Ukraine's ambassador to the UN Serhii Kyslytsia stated that the demand for complete demilitarisation and liberation of the station should be added to these principles.