Russia Alleges Ukraine Used U.S. Missiles in Luhansk Attack, NATO Defends Ukraine’s Rights

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Russia Alleges Ukraine Used U.S. Missiles in Luhansk Attack, NATO Defends Ukraine’s Rights

Russia accuses Ukraine of using U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles to strike Luhansk, causing civilian casualties and damage, while NATO reaffirms Ukraine’s right to self-defense.

The Russian Defence Ministry has accused Ukrainian forces of using U.S.-supplied ATACMS missiles in an attack on Luhansk, a city in eastern Ukraine under Russian control. The ministry reported that 20 people, including children, were injured in the strike on Friday.

Leonid Pasechnik, the Russia-installed governor of the region, stated via Telegram that the attack resulted in three deaths, with the total number of victims rising to 35, including three children. According to the Defence Ministry, four of the five missiles were intercepted by air defense systems, but one missile damaged two residential apartment blocks, which the ministry claimed was a deliberate act.

Pasechnik added that 33 buildings, including two schools and three kindergartens, were damaged. Rescue operations are ongoing as people are being pulled from the rubble. These assertions have not been independently verified, and Ukraine has not issued an immediate response.

In a related development, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a visit to Sweden, defended Ukraine’s right to strike military targets within Russia, citing international law. “Ukraine has the right to self-defense,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. He emphasized that this right includes attacking legitimate military targets on the territory of the aggressor, in this case, Russia.

Stoltenberg’s remarks come amid warnings from the Kremlin that Western countries supplying Ukraine with weapons for strikes on Russian territory could face retaliation. Russian President Vladimir Putin has mentioned the possibility of arming Western adversaries in response.

“This is a war of attack that Russia has begun against a peaceful, democratic neighboring country, Ukraine, that at no point has been a threat to Russia,” Stoltenberg asserted. “There is no question that Ukraine has the right to hit targets on Russian territory.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations reported a significant increase in civilian casualties in Ukraine. The civilian death toll in May rose to 174, marking the highest monthly total in nearly a year. This represents a 31% increase from April and is attributed to heightened missile and bomb strikes in populated areas around Kharkiv, according to the U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.