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White House Edges Closer to Allowing Ukraine to Strike Russia With US Weapons - Reports

© Wikipedia / Public DomainATACMS Army Tactical Missile System
ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2024
The push by some NATO allies to untie Zelensky’s hands to strike targets on Russian territory comes on the back of panicky assessments of Ukraine’s woeful battlefield situation. Such talk in the West reflects desperation and realization that they will not achieve their goals by the "usual honest means," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The Biden administration is edging closer to lifting restrictions on Ukraine striking Russian territory with US-supplied weapons, Politico reported.
The issue is purportedly "under consideration" as Russia advances on the battlefield, leaving Ukraine’s Armed Forces facing manpower and hardware losses.
No final decision has been made, the publication cited administration officials as saying, which explains why both US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby have been insisting that no such authorization has yet been given. Chances are that the Biden administration will continue to restrict the Kiev regime’s ability to strike Russian targets, the report added.
Any possible rethink of the US policy would come amid growing pressure from the Democrats, allies, and Kiev, the publication stated. Ukraine has been complaining that the US restrictions "significantly reduce the effectiveness of partners’ assistance and neutralize the efforts made," as per an internal document obtained by Politico.
A succession of other outlets have also reported that the White House was mulling reversing its ban.
Biden’s national security aides are in a “very brisk process” to make a “formal recommendation” to the president regarding the risk such a policy change would entail, The New York Times said.
Some unnamed advisors claimed a reversal of Biden’s position was “inevitable,” albeit with caveats. Kiev would likely have to limit strikes to military targets just inside Russia’s borders. The ban on using US weapons to strike deep inside Russian territory, or at critical infrastructure, would probably remain, the outlet said.
Meanwhile, the US is concerned over recent Ukrainian attempts to carry out drone strikes “against Russia’s ballistic missile early-warning sites,The Washington Post cited an American official as saying.
These sites are “sensitive locations because Russia could perceive that its strategic deterrent capabilities are being targeted, which could undermine Russia’s ability to maintain nuclear deterrence against the United States,” the official said, adding that Washington has conveyed its concerns to Kiev.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.05.2024
Blinken Says US Has Not Encouraged Kiev to Strike Outside of Ukraine
In public, US officials like Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Council spokesman John Kirby have maintained a degree of ambiguity, claiming that there have not been any changes in the policy. The US has not encouraged Kiev to strike outside of Ukraine amid its ongoing conflict with Russia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Moldova on Wednesday, adding that Ukraine has to make its own decisions. He also said that the Biden administration’s approach toward the Ukraine conflict “has been to adapt as the conditions have changed, as the battlefield has changed, as what Russia does has changed.”
We’ve adapted and adjusted, too, and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also stated that there’s “no change” in the current policy that says Ukraine cannot use US-supplied weapons to strike inside Russian territory.
Western powers have been split on the issue of untying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's hands and letting the Kiev regime strike deep into Russia. Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged the bloc’s members who have supplied weapons to Ukraine to stop barring Kiev from using these weapons to attack Russia. He was supported by hawkish officials like Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and Estonia’s Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, but there has been pushback against the idea as well. Italy's government has called for efforts to "work for peace and lower the tone.”
On the home front, the Biden administration is also under pressure. Sixty former US officials and scholars sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday demanding that he lift the existing restrictions amid the deteriorating situation on the battlefield for Ukrainian forces in the Kharkov region. The signatories included former US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, former US Army Europe Commanding General Ben Hodges, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe Philip Breedlove, and former US ambassadors to Russia and Ukraine.
If the Biden administration were to flip-flop on the matter of the ban, it would hardly be a "first." Suffice it to recall how the administration changed its tune on other Ukraine policies, namely sending depleted uranium ammunition, cluster bombs, and long-range missiles. The discreet delivery of Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles to Ukraine in March was confirmed by a Defense Department spokesperson to Sputnik last month.
Moscow has repeatedly warned that Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory using Western-supplied military hardware could lead to direct conflict with NATO. In response to the debate on the issue from Washington and its NATO allies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the US-led military bloc was toying with military rhetoric, raising the degree of escalation and plunging into what he called a warlike "ecstasy."

"As I understand it, these conversations reflect, in a sense, desperation and a realization that by the usual honest means that apply in international law even in times of hostilities, they will not achieve their goal. It feels like agony," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian media.

ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.05.2024
NATO Members Divided on Ukraine's Plans to Hit Russia With Western Weapons
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