• France's president said Ukraine should be allowed to use Western weapons to hit targets in Russia.
  • But only positions Russia is using to launch attacks on Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron said.
  • Other Western leaders have urged allies to lift the ban on Ukraine using their weapons in Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine should be allowed to use weapons supplied by its Western allies to target positions inside Russia — but on one condition.

Macron said at a press conference on Tuesday that Ukraine should be able to target military bases in Russia that are directly used to launch attacks on Ukraine.

"We think that we should allow them to neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are fired and, basically, the military sites from which Ukraine is attacked," he told reporters.

Macron held a map showing military bases stationed inside Russia's borders, where Russian forces have been building up and launching offensive operations.

"As you can see, Ukrainian soil is being attacked from bases in Russia," he said, adding: "How do we explain to the Ukrainians that they're going to have to protect these towns and everything we see around Kharkiv if we tell them, 'you're not allowed to reach the position where the missiles are fired from?'"

Macron said the message NATO is sending to Ukraine right now is: "We're giving you weapons, but you can't defend yourself."

His statement comes as other world leaders are calling for a change in policy.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told The Economist last week that some restrictions should be lifted as they make it very difficult for Ukrainian soldiers to defend themselves along the border with Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also joined Stoltenberg's call, adding that NATO countries have to balance the risk of escalation with the need for Ukrainians to be able to defend their country.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has had to contend with a series of Russian offensives, especially in Kharkiv, which borders Russia in the country's northeast.

Ukrainian soldiers in Kharkiv were forced to watch Russia amassing troops across the border without being able to hit them, and then suffered losses that it could have prevented, a Ukrainian commander told The Times of London last week.

Despite being one of the top providers of military aid to Ukraine, the US has repeatedly said it won't allow Ukraine to use the weapons it has supplied to strike targets on Russian soil.

But there are signs that it could be changing its mind. Last week, The New York Times reported that US officials were debating rolling back the rule, which Ukraine has argued severely hampers its ability to defend itself.

According to Macron, Ukraine's NATO allies should allow Ukraine to strike inside Russia, but it must not be allowed to hit civilian targets or other military targets.

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