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Blinken: Washington has not encouraged Ukraine to strike inside Russia with US weapons, but decision up to Kyiv

by Chris York May 15, 2024 3:09 PM 2 min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference following his meeting with French Foreign minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, on April 2, 2024. (Benoit Tessier / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine "has to make decisions for itself" when deciding how to use U.S.-supplied weapons that could strike targets inside Russian territory, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on May 15.

Speaking in Kyiv during a press conference, Blinken was asked about recent Ukrainian complaints that a Washington ban meant Ukraine was unable to attack Russian forces as they were building up before crossing the border into Kharkiv Oblast.

"We've not enabled or encouraged strikes outside of Ukraine, but ultimately, Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it's going to conduct this war," he said.

The U.S. has supplied Ukraine with long-range ATACMS missiles, which Ukraine reportedly used to strike Russian targets in occupied Crimea. Washington's restrictions, as described by Ukrainian officials, would prevent the replication of such an attack inside Russian territory.

"The main problem right now is the White House policy to limit our capability" to strike military targets inside Russia, said David Arakhamia, the parliamentary leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky's party, the Servant of the People.

"We saw their military sitting one or two kilometers from the border inside Russia, and there was nothing we could do about that," Oleksandra Ustinova, the head of the Ukraine's parliamentary commission on arms and ammunition, told Politico.

"(T)hey (Russia) know there is a restriction for Ukrainians to shoot at the Russian territory. And we saw all of their military equipment sitting one or two kilometers from the border (near Kharkiv), and there was nothing we could do," Ustinova noted.

Blinken also said Washington will provide Ukraine with an additional $2 billion in foreign military financing.

48 hours in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s most-bombed major city
The first signs that something ominous is happening in Kharkiv come as soon as the train from Kyiv reaches the suburbs of the city – as two pillars of smoke appear in the distance, every single phone in the carriage erupts with a piercing electronic squawking. “I guess we’ve arrived,
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