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Ukraine has used US weapons to hit targets inside Russia, source tells AP

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 5, 2024 8:50 PM 2 min read
Illustrative photo. Ukrainian servicemen supervise an M142 HIMARS launching a rocket near Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on May 18, 2023. (Serhii Mykhalchuk/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's armed forces have used U.S.-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia, the Associated Press (AP) reported on June 5, the first such confirmation since the White House partially lifted a ban on such actions last week.

Citing a Western official speaking anonymously, AP said the attack had happened in "recent days" but gave no further information.

Washington gave Ukraine permission to use some American weapons to strike targets in Russia across the border from both Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts, U.S. and Ukrainian officials confirmed on May 31.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukraine hit a Russian S-300/400 air defense battery in Belgorod Oblast "likely with HIMARS on June 1 or 2."

"The S-300/400 air defense system was located roughly 60 kilometers from the current frontline in northern Kharkiv Oblast and over 80 kilometers from Kharkiv City, which is within the range of HIMARS but exceeds the range of other MLRS systems that Ukrainian forces reportedly use to conduct strikes into Belgorod Oblast," the ISW added.

Ukrainian officials have not commented on the strike.

Washington still prohibits Ukraine from using long-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and other long-range U.S.-supplied weapons for strikes deeper inside Russia, U.S. officials have said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 2 said the U.S. should also lift this ban in order to protect lives.

“Is that sufficient? No. Why? Because I have given you the example of airfields from which Russia is permanently firing, in calm, knowing that Ukraine will not fire back because it has no corresponding systems and no permissions,” Zelensky said, as cited by The Telegraph, in reaction to Washington’s decision.

Zelensky said Kyiv was waiting for approval to strike Russian military airfields, the staging grounds for attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

He added that Russia has about 300 weapon systems – loaded with tens of thousands of missiles – deployed on its side of the border to attack Ukraine, The Telegraph reported.

“So they have these weapons there, and they do not remove them because they know that Ukraine cannot target them with Western weaponry even if they fire against us,” Zelensky said.

The topic of the Western allies’ ban on Ukraine attacking Russia using their weapons has gained wide attention after Moscow opened a new front in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast in May, where it was able to ready for an operation without significant Ukrainian cross-border threats.

With all eyes on Kharkiv, Russian troops take one Donbas village after another
Editor’s Note: The Kyiv Independent is not disclosing soldiers’ full names since they disclosed information without authorization from their command. DONETSK OBLAST—As public attention shifted to Moscow’s renewed offensive in Kharkiv Oblast, Russian forces steadily advance in the country’s easternm…

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