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ISW on alleged permission from Biden to strike Russian territory

ISW on alleged permission from Biden to strike Russian territory President of the US, Joe Biden (photo: Getty Images)

Reports from American media about the Biden administration allegedly granting Ukraine limited permission to strike targets on Russian territory have raised questions about the scope of this authorization. It remains unclear how far this permission extends within the Belgorod region and whether it applies to the Kursk and Bryansk regions at all, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Yesterday, several American media outlets, citing US officials, reported that President Joe Biden approved a policy change allowing Ukraine to use US-provided weapons, including GMLRS rockets but excluding the longer-range ATACMS missiles, to strike counterfire targets against Russian forces attacking in northern Kharkiv oblast.

According to The New York Times, Secretary of State Antony Blinken requested the lifting of restrictions for Ukraine from Biden.

"It is unclear how far into Belgorod region the US is permitting Ukrainian forces to strike with US-provided weapons, or if Ukraine would be allowed to strike Russian force and equipment concentrations in Kursk and Bryansk regions," the ISW report states.

The Institute noted that Russian military targets beyond the immediate border with Kharkiv oblast are also legitimate military targets, and ongoing restrictions on Ukraine's ability to strike targets elsewhere in Russia hinder Ukraine's ability to defend itself against Russian aggression.

Russia still benefits from certain locations inaccessible to Ukraine, from which the Russian army can cover their military forces before they approach close enough to Kharkiv or enter other parts of Ukraine. Russia will continue to benefit from any such locations as long as Western states continue to impose restrictions on Ukraine's ability to defend itself.

The ISW continues to insist that the US should allow Ukraine to strike all legitimate military targets in Russia's operational and deep rear with US-provided weapons.

Biden's permission

On May 30, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that the Biden administration might allow Ukraine to strike Russian territory with American weapons.

Yehor Cherniev, Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament's Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, stated that the US might provide Ukraine with a covert permit to use American weapons for strikes on Russia.

The Washington Post reported, citing a source, that the US does not impose restrictions on Ukraine's use of US-supplied air defense systems to eliminate Russian missiles or fighter jets over Russian territory if they pose a threat to Ukraine.

However, the US Department of Defense stated yesterday that it still does not allow Ukraine to use US-provided weapons to strike targets within Russia. The Pentagon believes Ukraine should focus on tactical and operational targets within its borders.