Putin: don't hit Russia with Western missiles

STORY: Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike inside Russia.

While on a trip to Uzbekistan, the Russian president told reporters on Tuesday that such strikes could trigger a global conflict.

Putin also emphasized that many NATO member countries have small land areas and dense populations,

Which was a "factor that they should keep in mind before talking about striking deep into Russian territory.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently told The Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons, a view supported by some NATO members.

Here’s French President Emmanuel Macron following a joint security session in Germany on Tuesday:

“We tell them 'we're supplying you with weapons, but you can't defend yourselves.' We stay exactly within the same framework. We think that we should allow them to neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are fired.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he agreed with Macron, and that as long as Ukraine followed international law and respected the conditions given by countries that supplied the weapons, it was allowed to defend itself.

The deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two is escalating into what diplomats say is its most dangerous phase to date.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently chided Ukraine's western allies for not providing enough military support to rebuff Russian attacks, and for prohibiting Ukraine from using Western-provided weapons to strike missile launchers inside Russia.

Russia’s recent advances have triggered a debate in the West about what else it can do after giving Kyiv hundreds of billions of dollars in aid, weapons and intelligence.

The United States has so far not gone as far as some European allies.

Here’s U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday:

“We're aware of the interest that President Zelenskiy has expressed in this regard. I would tell you that there's no change to our policy at this point. We don't encourage or enable the use of U.S. supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.”

Kremlin officials say Moscow's patience is wearing thin after repeated Ukrainian attacks on Russian cities, oil refineries, and, in recent days, even against elements of its nuclear early warning system.