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Kyiv can use US arms to strike 'anywhere' Russia is attacking across border, Washington says

by Abbey Fenbert June 21, 2024 2:58 AM 2 min read
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks at a daily news conference at the White House on May 22, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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Ukrainian troops may use U.S. weapons to strike targets within Russia wherever Russian forces launch cross-border assaults on Ukrainian territory, not just near the Kharkiv Oblast border, U.S. officials confirmed to Politico on June 20.

The officials denied that this was a substantive policy change from U.S. President Joe Biden's  statement granting Ukraine permission to use American weapons in Russia "solely near the area of Kharkiv."

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told PBS News on June 17 that Ukraine is allowed to strike "anywhere that Russian forces are coming across the border from the Russian side to the Ukrainian side to try to take additional Ukrainian territory."

Sullivan said that if Moscow launched an offensive against Sumy Oblast, Kyiv would have permission to use U.S. arms to strike inside Russia near the Sumy border.

Two U.S. officials, speaking anonymously, told Politico that the announcement does not reflect a shift in policy. Washington's original permission to fire across the border came in the context of Russia's offensive against Kharkiv Oblast but did not preclude responding to cross-border attacks in other regions, the officials said.

Ex-NATO commander calls for further lifting restrictions on Ukrainian strikes against Russia
Last month Washington finally allowed Kyiv to use some U.S.-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia, but only across the border from Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts.

The officials also emphasized that the policy prohibiting Ukraine from launching long-range strikes with U.S. weapons inside Russian territory "has not changed."

Sullivan said the U.S. position on the matter "is not about geography."

"It's about common sense," he said.

"If Russia is attacking or about to attack from its territory into Ukraine, it only makes sense to allow Ukraine to hit back against the forces that are hitting it from across the border."

Previous statements on the matter from U.S. officials, including Biden, have stressed that the permission only extends to Russian positions near Kharkiv Oblast.

Zelensky on strikes inside Russia: ‘It works, just as we expected’
President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the success of strikes inside Russia with Western-supplied weapons, saying the ability to hit “Russian terrorists’ positions and launchers near the border… truly matters.”

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