Pressure on Biden to allow Ukraine to attack Russia with US weapons

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Among the weapons supplied to Ukraine by the United States are High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars).

  • author, Laura Cosey
  • stock, BBC News

Ukraine is under increasing pressure on US President Joe Biden to attack the Russian border using Western-supplied weapons.

Several U.S. allies this week signaled they are open to the possibility, after months of concern about an escalation.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has warned of “severe consequences”, especially for what he called “small countries” in Europe.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington’s position on the matter would be “adaptive and fine-tuning” based on changing battlefield conditions. He is currently in the Czech capital Prague for the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said late Wednesday that while U.S. support for Kiev had evolved, “right now, there is no change in our policy.”

Ukraine has been struggling to counter a Russian offensive in the country’s east, while the city of Kharkiv has seen weeks of deadly attacks, mostly launched by Russia from military outposts near the Ukrainian border.

Mr Blinken’s statement followed blunt comments by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week during a trip to Europe, saying Ukraine “must be allowed” to use Western-supplied weapons against military bases on Russian territory. Public targets.

image caption, The White House has said there is no change in its policy

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was cautious in public but a spokesman in Berlin said that “defensive action is not limited to one’s own territory, but also includes the territory of the aggressor”.

Last week, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the Economist that the West should allow Ukraine to defend itself by attacking military bases in Russia. “Ukraine has the right to defend itself. This includes hitting targets on Russian territory,” he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said earlier this month that Ukraine should decide how to use British weapons, while Poland’s deputy defense minister said Ukrainians could use Polish weapons “as they see fit”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously said it is “unfair” for Western countries to impose limits on the use of their weapons, while admitting that Ukraine cannot risk the support of its partners.

Russia has reacted angrily to the prospect of Western weapons being used against targets on Russian territory.

“In Europe, especially small countries, they should know what they are playing,” Vladimir Putin said, adding that many European countries had “small territories” and “dense populations.”

The Russian leader added that while Ukraine’s forces had carried out attacks, any attacks inside his country’s territory would rest with Western arms suppliers.

Some NATO countries are nervous about the prospect. On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she did not think it was necessary to attack Russian military bases and instead urged the West to provide more air defenses to Ukraine.

Latvia’s Foreign Minister Baiba Brace told Ukrainian news media that some countries had already provided arms to Ukraine “without conditions” but not saying “all of them” out loud.

Other countries have been more forthcoming in allowing Ukraine to use their weapons inside Russia.

The US has already delivered thousands of self-defense weapons, tanks and air defense systems to Ukraine.

Since April, it has also sent a longer-range version of the ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, which can travel up to 190 miles (300 km).

Until now, Ukraine has been using drones to attack targets inside Russian territory.

It was reported earlier this week that Ukrainian drones struck an early warning radar near the city of Orsk, 1,500 km (932 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

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