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Biden Allows Ukraine to Strike Russia Near Kharkov With US-Supplied Weapons

© Wikipedia / Public DomainATACMS Army Tactical Missile System
ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.05.2024
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US President Joe Biden has greenlighted Ukrainian strikes using US-supplied weapons inside the Russian territory for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkov region, but has not authorized the use of long-range missiles, including ATACMS, inside Russia, a State Department spokesperson told Sputnik in a statement.
The President recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S.-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them. Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of ATACMS or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed,” the statement said on Thursday.
The Pentagon has been instructed to develop precise recommendations for Ukraine describing the targets in the Russian territory that the Ukrainian Army can hit with US weapons, the New York Times has reported.
President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Thursday March 7, 2024, in Washington.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.05.2024
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The publication said that the Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, had already handed the relevant instruction to the commander of NATO's joint forces in Europe, Christopher Cavoli, and the latter sent the information to Kiev. Cited administration officials conceded that the president’s restrictions "could be subject to further loosening," with one insider adding:
This is a new reality,” in the Ukraine conflict.
The secret policy change came after weeks of behind-the-scenes deliberations, with the Ukrainian side insistently pushing for a reversal of the US ban after Russia began a major assault around Kharkov around May 10, wrote the publication. Only a very narrow group of aides were reportedly privy to the discussions. Biden had been headed towards a policy change already before Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken returned from his trip to Kiev, said the report.
Both the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III had already determined that the Kiev regime’s losses around Kharkov warranted an exception to the rule against firing into Russia, said the unnamed senior officials. On May 15, after Sullivan conveyed the policy change recommendation to Biden, the president “for the first time” displayed inclination to do so, said the report. At the time, Blinken was in Kiev. Finally, the White House made the official decision to give Ukraine “flexibility” against the advancing Russian armed forces, said one US official.
A US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) fires a missile during a Combined Joint Littoral Live Fire Exercise at the joint military exercise called Balikatan, Tagalog for shoulder-to-shoulder in a Naval station in Zambales province, northern Philippines on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.05.2024
West's Talks About Using US Weapons to Strike Russia Reflect Desperation - Lavrov
There had been reports hinting at a looming policy change long before it was announced, with media outlets like The New York Times and Politico suggesting that the Biden administration was edging closer to lifting restrictions on Ukraine striking Russian territory with US-supplied weapons. On Thursday, the issue was believed to be still "under consideration," with no final decision made. As we can now see, it was just more “smoke and mirrors” from Washington. Recently announced decisions of US allies such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany to allow Ukraine to strike Russian military targets using their weapons might have seemed like pressure to get Biden to change his stance. However, in effect, they were emboldened to green light the move only because they had been informed that the US POTUS was “headed in the same direction,” noted The New York Times.
In effect, only London authorized Kiev to use Storm Shadow missiles supplied to it to attack Russian facilities prior to Washington’s decision, with Foreign Secretary David Cameron weighing in on the matter on May 2
Just a handful of National Security Council and the Pentagon senior staff were ostensibly aware of the change. No wonder that Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh was embarrassingly still maintaining there had been 'no change' in the old policy on Thursday morning in a briefing for reporters. In reality, days before, US Secretary of Defense Austin had already released orders allowing Ukraine to use American weapons to strike military targets over the Russian border.

West's War Rhetoric Reflects 'Agony'

As the reports of an impending policy reversal by Washington gained momentum, Moscow repeatedly warned that Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory using Western-supplied military hardware could lead to direct conflict with NATO. Russian officials warned that "tough and swift measures” might be taken in response.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the US-led military bloc was toying with military rhetoric, hiking up 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.
Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul gestures toward Russian cities and infrastructure on a map showing the range of US long-range missile systems which have been delivered to Ukraine, but which the Biden administration has not formally allowed Kiev to use against targets deep inside Russia, during Secretary of State Antony Blinken's testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations, May 22, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2024
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