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Biden Privately Approved Ukraine Using American Weapons to Strike Inside Russia: Report


By: Nick Pope, Daily Caller News Foundation

President Joe Biden reportedly gave Ukraine permission to use American weapons to strike inside Russian territory, according to Politico.

Biden’s decision represents a major reversal on America’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine war, as he had previously resisted calls to provide Ukrainian forces with offensive weapons to strike inside Russia, according to Politico, which cited anonymous U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the move. Ukrainian forces have suffered setbacks in the country’s northeastern region, apparently prompting the policy reversal, but some Ukraine skeptics have cautioned that allowing strikes inside Russia with U.S. weapons could invite unwelcome and serious escalation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S. weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them,” one U.S. official told Politico. The official added that the administration’s policy of not permitting long-range strikes inside Russia’s borders “has not changed.”

Ukrainian forces can now use U.S. weaponry to counter Russian missiles bound for Kharkiv, fire upon soldiers assembling inside Russia to attack nearby Kharkiv, or take down Russian bombers attacking Ukraine, according to Politico. However, the new stance will reportedly not allow Ukraine to use that firepower to target civilian infrastructure or launch long-range attacks against military installations further in the Russian interior.

The Biden administration had previously asserted that allowing Ukrainian strikes inside Russia with U.S.-provided weaponry could prompt Putin to escalate or broaden the conflict, according to Politico. However, the deteriorating situation around Kharkiv reportedly forced the administration to change its mind, especially as Ukrainian officials have emphasized their need to disrupt the buildup of troops pouring into the northeast from just over the border.

Other U.S. allies that have contributed to Ukraine’s war effort, including France and the U.K., have previously argued that the Ukrainians should be able to use weapons provided by the West to strike inside Russia’s borders, according to Politico. Russia has cautioned that NATO risks escalation if the alliance permits Ukraine to use provided weapons to attack inside Russia, with Putin warning that allowing such attacks could “lead to serious consequences.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) declined to comment, and referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the National Security Council (NSC). Neither the White House nor the NSC responded immediately to requests for comment.

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