Germany clears way for Ukraine to target Russian airspace with patriot missiles

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city near the Russian border, has faced almost daily bombardment from Russian positions just across the frontier in recent months.

Germany has opened the door for Ukraine to deploy German-supplied Patriot air defence systems to strike into Russian airspace, a significant policy change as Kyiv battles relentless Russian aerial bombardment, according to a senior German military official.

In an interview with public broadcaster Tagesschau, Major General Christian Freuding, head of Germany’s military situational centre for Ukraine, said the Patriot missile batteries could now potentially be used to combat Russian aircraft launching strikes from Russian territory near Kharkiv.

It is quite conceivable that the ‘Patriot’ systems could now also be used in the Kharkiv area and over Russia, Freuding stated.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city near the Russian border, has faced almost daily bombardment from Russian positions just across the frontier in recent months. Freuding said Germany made the policy adjustment specifically to aid Ukraine’s defence of the Kharkiv region.

While not confirming if Ukrainian forces have already fired Patriot missiles into Russian airspace, Freuding said Germany trusts Kyiv will adhere to international laws and use the advanced U.S.-made air defence system responsibly.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Oleksii Makeiev welcomed the move, stating it was important not to draw red lines around ourselves, but to place them clearly in front of the aggressor.

Germany’s decision follows a similar policy revision by the United States and other allies recently allowing Ukrainian forces to strike Russian territory in self-defence against bombardment originating from Russia.

The change marks a significant escalation in the types of targets Ukrainian troops can engage with advanced Western-supplied weapons and air defence systems. Previously, strictures limited the use of the arms to only inside Ukraine’s borders.

Russia has furiously condemned Ukrainian strikes on its territory as unacceptable attacks. The Kremlin could view the use of U.S.-made Patriots to hit targets over its airspace as an especially provocative act that raises risks of wider escalation.

At the same time, Ukrainian officials argue their nation has every right to disable Russian airpower used to pummel cities and civilian areas. Limiting Kyiv’s defensive capabilities, they say, grants Moscow an unacceptable military advantage.

With no diplomatic solution in sight, the Ukraine conflict continues inching toward an increasingly unrestrained military campaign on both sides amid rising dangers of escalation.