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NATO Raises Rhetoric as Russia Inches Forward in Ukraine

NATO has, for all intents and purposes, given Kyiv the green light to target anything within Russia's borders, with Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg telling RFE/RL that Kyiv would be within its defensive rights to strike military targets outside of Ukraine.

The problem with that, of course, is that these strikes on Russia would likely be accomplished with Western (and primarily U.S.) weapons- which would amount to more than a NATO green light. That would be a Western attack, by proxy, for which Putin has threatened significant escalation. 

At the same time, France's Macron is being rather provocative (as is his nature) with statements to the effect that European nations are prepared to send troops to Ukraine (even though his fellow Europeans have not agreed to this). Macron likes to be dramatic, and this was a great opportunity for him, prompting a backlash from Washington and other European capitals (though Slovakia also said that the EU and NATO were considering troops on the ground). 

From Putin's perspective, there were quite a few red lines crossed in just a week - and about three weeks from presidential elections in Russia. However, the end result was for Macron to look like a fool playing Napoleon and a bit of a panic on the NATO media front as they attempted to walk this boots-on-the-ground threat back. 

Another red line for Putin was Hungary's move this week to give parliamentary approval to Sweden's NATO membership. That was the final roadblock…

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