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Biden administration signals readiness to allow Ukraine to strike Russia with US weapons - Politico

Biden administration signals readiness to allow Ukraine to strike Russia with US weapons - Politico President of the US, Joe Biden (photo: Getty Images)

Two senior officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden have allowed Ukraine to use American weapons to strike Russian territory. However, Washington has not yet made a final decision, and the matter is still under consideration, according to Politico.

According to Politico, representatives of the White House and Biden's top aides are signalling readiness to allow Ukraine to strike Russia with US weapons.

This comes amid pressure from some European allies and Ukrainian officials, who are calling for the lifting of restrictions on such a step in the context of the Russian advance in the Kharkiv region.

It is noted that Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about possible changes regarding the relevant taboo during his visit to Moldova under pressure from journalists.

According to him, the distinctive feature of the Biden administration's approach to Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion two years ago was adaptation to changing conditions, the battlefield, what Russia was doing, and what was changing.

"We’ve adapted and adjusted, too, and we’ll continue to do that," Blinken said.

Later, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that there are no changes in the current policy according to which Ukraine cannot use US-provided weapons to strike Russian territory. He noted that US support for Ukraine has appropriately evolved.

Two other representatives of the Biden administration, as reported by Politico, cautioned that a final decision has not yet been made and that Blinken and Kirby described the general trend of American support for Ukraine during the war as initial caution followed by permission. However, they did not necessarily guarantee future changes.

An American official familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that the issue is under consideration.

Meanwhile, a person close to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Office stated that Kyiv has not seen specific shifts in this matter from the Biden administration.

During his visit to Belgium on Tuesday, May 28, Zelenskyy appealed to Western governments to allow Ukraine to use foreign-made weapons to strike targets on Russian sovereign territory.

Politico has obtained an internal document from the Ukrainian government outlining key points for Ukrainian officials. It states that the restrictions imposed by the US significantly reduce the effectiveness of partner assistance and neutralize the efforts made.

Biden has faced pressure from within the country to lift the restrictions, particularly from Democrats, and the decision of foreign allies to allow Ukraine to use their provided weapons on Russian territory has intensified this pressure.

The Biden administration has also changed other aspects of Ukrainian policy after allies did so, including sending long-range missiles after London and Paris provided their versions to Kyiv.

Many leading American lawmakers publicly support this idea.

Last week, House Speaker Mike Johnson said that Ukrainians cannot defend themselves due to the Biden administration's policy. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Republican Mike Turner, sent a letter to the Pentagon requesting the restrictions be lifted.

"I haven’t seen a single person in the House or Senate who didn’t support this idea," said Oleksandra Ustinova, the head of Ukraine’s special parliamentary commission on arms and munition, who met with several lawmakers in Washington in May.

According to her, members of Congress noted that Kyiv had observed Russian forces amassing on the border, preparing to strike Kharkiv. Still, due to Washington's decision, the Defense Forces could not attack with the missiles provided by the US.

Permission for strikes with Western weapons on Russian territory

After the Russian army invaded the territory of the Kharkiv region in early May and a series of bloody strikes by Russians on Kharkiv, Kyiv began negotiations with EU countries and the US to obtain permission to strike Russian territory to destroy enemy aircraft and missile installations.

Latvia, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, and most other European countries supported the idea of allowing the use of Western weapons for attacks. However, the US and Germany have expressed caution on this issue.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell called strikes by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Russian territory acceptable under international law, as Russian troops are attacking our country from their territory.

French President Emmanuel Macron also supported permitting Ukraine to strike Russian territory, but clarified that this should only be done on objects from which the aggressor launches missiles.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Alliance countries to allow Ukraine to target enemy targets in Russian territory. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopted a similar decision calling on partner countries to do the same.

For a list of countries that have already expressed support for Ukraine's strikes on Russian territory with their weapons, read the article by RBC-Ukraine.