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Ukraine asks US to lift ban on using American arms to strike at Russian territory

by Martin Fornusek May 15, 2024 9:47 AM 2 min read
In this handout photo released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, U.S. Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) firing a missile into the East Sea during a South Korean joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korean ICBM test on July 29, 2017, in East Coast, South Korea. (South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian officials are trying to convince Washington to allow Kyiv to strike at Russian territory with U.S.-supplied weapons, saying the ban prevented them from attacking Russian troops amassing near Kharkiv Oblast, Politico reported on May 14.

Moscow's troops launched a new offensive into northeastern Kharkiv Oblast through the Russo-Ukrainian border on May 10, with 30,000 troops reportedly involved in the operation.

A group of Ukrainian parliamentarians is in Washington this week to mobilize support in the U.S. Congress, saying that the ban prevented them from hitting Russian military depots across the border, Politico wrote.

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.

Ukraine war latest: 30,000 Russian troops involved in Kharkiv Oblast offensive, Ukrainian official says
Key developments on May 14: * Security Council secretary: Over 30,000 Russian troops involved in attack on Kharkiv Oblast * General Staff: Ukrainian soldiers ‘change positions’ near Lukiantsi village in Kharkiv Oblast * US State Department does not anticipate Russian breakthrough toward Kharkiv…

"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 in a separate interview.

"(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.

Two unnamed U.S. officials told Politico that Washington's policy on the issue has not changed.

"The assistance is for the defense and not for offensive operations in Russian territory," one of them told the news outlet.

The U.K. recently said that it does not oppose Ukraine using British-supplied weapons to strike directly at Russia. Latvian Foreign Minister Baiba Braze said earlier in May that several countries had sent weapons to Kyiv with no restrictions on strikes inside Russian territory.

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