Monday, June 24, 2024

Biden eases restrictions on Ukraine using US weapons in Russian attacks, say US officials | WGN Radio 720

US President Authorizes Ukraine to Use American Weapons for Defensive Purposes

President Joe Biden has authorized Ukraine to use American weapons to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the matter. This decision marks a significant shift in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, as previously, American-provided weapons were not allowed for offensive strikes inside Russia.

The move comes as Ukrainian officials, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been urgently calling on the U.S. administration to allow their forces to defend themselves against attacks originating from Russian territory. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, is just 20 kilometers from the Russian border, making it a critical area of concern.

During Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to Kyiv, Zelenskyy made a compelling case for the use of American weapons to strike back at Russian positions that were launching attacks into northeastern Ukraine. Blinken, convinced by Zelenskyy’s arguments, brought the message back to Washington, ultimately leading to Biden’s decision to allow such strikes.

While Biden has previously been opposed to Ukraine’s offensive use of American-made weaponry, citing concerns over provocative actions and potential escalation from Moscow, the evolving situation on the ground has prompted a reevaluation. The ongoing Russian invasion has forced a reconsideration of U.S. policy, with Blinken indicating a willingness to adapt and adjust as needed.

The decision to authorize Ukrainian strikes inside Russia reflects a growing international consensus that Ukraine has the right to defend itself, even if it means striking legitimate military targets outside its borders. Western leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, have expressed support for Ukraine’s right to self-defense, including the ability to strike inside Russia if necessary.

As President Biden prepares to attend D-Day 80th-anniversary commemorations in Normandy next month, the decision to allow Ukrainian strikes inside Russia underscores the gravity of the situation in Ukraine and the ongoing conflict with Russia. Zelenskyy is expected to be among the world leaders in attendance at the historic event, highlighting the global significance of the crisis in Ukraine.

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