Biden Gives Ukraine Permission To Strike Inside Russia With US Weapons

The step marks a significant escalation in the proxy war and risks provoking a major Russian response

May 30, 2024

The Biden administration has given Ukraine permission to use US-provided weapons to hit targets inside Russian territory, POLITICO reported Thursday, a step that marks a significant escalation of the proxy war.

US officials said Ukraine will be able to use US weapons to shoot down Russian missiles inside Russia that are fired toward Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. They will also be able to hit Russian military units that are just over the border in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast.

The US officials insisted Ukraine would not be able to use US-provided missiles for attacks on civilian infrastructure or for long-range attacks on military targets that are deep inside Russia.

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use US weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them,” a US official told POLITICO. The official insisted the US still would not support long-range strikes on Russian territory.

Ukraine needs support from the US for targeting when it fires US-provided missiles, which means the US will now be directly supporting strikes inside Russia. The escalation risks provoking a major response from Russia, as Moscow recently warned the UK that it would target British military sites in Ukraine and “beyond” if British missiles were used in strikes on Russian territory. Over the past year, both US and British missiles have been used to target Crimea.

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The news comes a day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted that the US was preparing to change the policy, saying the US will “adapt and adjust” when asked if Urkaine could strike Russian territory with US weapons.

The New York Times previously reported that the restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US weapons were put in place as part of President Biden’s plans to “avoid World War III.” But throughout the war, the US and other NATO countries have taken escalations they previously ruled out due to fear of provoking Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that any NATO countries that let Ukraine strike Russia with their weapons would face “major consequences.”

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