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Kremlin troops were 'laughing' at Ukraine's inability to strike inside Russia, Zelensky says

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 31, 2024 4:22 PM 2 min read
Zelensky talks to reporters while meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Dec. 2023. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky said he thinks Moscow's troops were "laughing" at Ukraine and were able to "hunt" its soldiers because of a ban on using Western-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia.

Speaking to the Guardian before Kyiv confirmed the ban had been partially lifted on May 31, Zelensky said it was "absolutely illogical to have (Western) weapons and see the murderers, terrorists, who are killing us from the Russian side."

"I think sometimes they are just laughing at this situation," he said in the interview published on May 31, adding: "It’s like going hunting for them. Hunting for people."

"They understand that we can see them, but we cannot reach them."

The U.S. gave Ukraine permission to strike Russian territory with American-supplied weapons, but only near Kharkiv, Zelensky's spokesperson, Serhii Nykyforov, confirmed to the Kyiv Independent.

Citing unnamed American officials, Politico reported on May 30 that President Joe Biden's administration had given the go-ahead for Kyiv to attack targets inside Russia but "solely near the area of Kharkiv." The report was then confirmed by other outlets, including ABC News and the Associated Press (AP).

"It will significantly boost our ability to counter Russian attempts to mass across the border," Nykyforov told the Guardian in response to the question about permission from the U.S. to strike on Russian soil.

The Biden administration's decision allows Ukraine to use U.S.-provided weapons to strike Russian soldiers and command, as well as control centers, the Guardian said.

The Pentagon, in contrast, insisted on May 30 that there has been "no change" in policy regarding the use of U.S. arms without specifically mentioning attacks near Kharkiv Oblast.

Washington still prohibits Ukraine from using long-range weapons for strikes deeper inside Russia.

Zelensky wanted to use long-range weapons such as the British-made Storm Shadow missiles, but the U.K. has not given "100% permission" to do so, he told the Guardian.

Presidential Office confirms Washington allowed Kyiv to strike inside Russia with US arms near Kharkiv
The U.S. gave Ukraine permission to strike Russian territory with American-supplied weapons, but only near Kharkiv city, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s spokesperson, Serhii Nykyforov, confirmed for the Kyiv Independent on May 31.
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