Biden Secretly Permitted Ukraine to Strike Russia with US Arms

Fri May 31 2024
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WASHINGTON: The Biden administration has secretly permitted Ukraine to strike inside Russia with US-provided weapons, two officials and two other people familiar with the development said on Thursday.

A US official said the US policy of not allowing long-range strikes inside Russia has not changed.

The official said the president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine would be able to use US arms for retaliation in Kharkiv.

Ukraine has urged the US to make this policy change only after Russia’s military offensive on Kharkiv started this month, the official added.

Another US official said that in the last few days, the US decided to allow Ukraine to defend itself from Russian attacks on the border near Kharkiv.

Ukraine now uses American-provided ammunition such as rocket launchers, to hit Russian missiles heading toward Kharkiv.

But the official added Ukraine cannot use those weapons to target civilian infrastructure or launch long-range missiles to hit military targets deep inside Russia.

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The Biden administration singled out that a decision had either been secretly made in recent days.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who supports a restriction lift, on Wednesday, became the first US official to publicly hint that Biden may shift his policy and allow such strikes.

He said US policy toward Ukraine would evolve as required. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby also did not rule out the change in US policy.

The US has delivered a strong message that Kyiv must use American weapons only to directly hit Russian military sites but not civilian infrastructure.

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