Ukraine barred from using US weapons to strike Moscow or Kremlin, says US President

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Kyiv is not authorized to strike Moscow or the Kremlin with American weapons, President Joe Biden told ABC News in an exclusive interview on June 6.

When asked if Ukraine has used American weapons to strike Russian territory, President Biden did not give a direct answer but made it clear that the United States would not permit attacks on the Russian capital.

"They're authorized to be used in proximity to the border when they're being used on the other side of the border to attack specific targets in Ukraine. We're not authorizing strikes 200 miles into Russia and we're not authorizing strikes on Moscow, on the Kremlin," he said.

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This statement follows Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's threat to strike "sensitive targets" of Kyiv's allies with conventional missiles if they allowed Ukraine to strike deeper into Russia with long-range Western weapons.

"If we see that these countries are being drawn into a war against the Russian Federation, then we reserve the right to act in the same way. In general, this is a path to very serious problems," Putin said on June 5.

Earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Ukraine had the right to defend itself against attacks on its territory, cities, and citizens, supporting the use of German weaponry to strike Russian military targets.

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Use of Western weapons in Russian territory

The U.S. does not "encourage" Ukraine to use American weapons to strike Russian territory, White House spokesperson John Kirby said on May 17.

Read also: Ukraine needs more freedom in using US weapons against Russia, says speaker Johnson

Foreign weapons should be used "to reclaim Ukrainian sovereign territory," and this should occur "specifically on Ukrainian territory," the Pentagon emphasized.

Ukraine likely received U.S. approval to use American weapons for strikes on Russian territory, Le Monde reported, analyzing statements by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Kyiv.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron pledged $3.74 billion in annual military aid to Ukraine on May 3. London does not object to the use of its weapons for strikes on Russia, he added.

Le Monde views Cameron and Blinken's statements as "a sign of a deliberate shift in the West's position" on this issue.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown provided evasive answers on May 20, when asked whether Ukraine could use American weapons to strike Russia amid the Russian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast.

Read also: U.S. to announce new military aid for Ukraine amid American weapons ‘turning the war’ at the battlefield

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The New York Times on May 21 that he had asked the U.S. to allow Ukraine to use American missiles and other weapons on military targets inside Russia.

Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonsson declared that Ukraine could use Swedish weapons for attacks on Russian territory.

AFP, citing unnamed sources, reported that Ukraine had already used Western weapons to strike Russian territory several times, most recently in Krasnodar.

The New York Times reported on May 31, citing unnamed White House officials, that U.S. President Joe Biden, under pressure from his advisers and key allies, had authorized Ukraine to conduct limited strikes on Russian territory with U.S.-made weapons.

On the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the White House had authorized Ukraine to strike Russian territory with U.S. weapons.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Michael Carpenter told Voice of America that the U.S. authorized Ukraine to strike Russian territory not only to protect Kharkiv from Russian attacks but also to defend other Ukrainian regions.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ukraine could strike Russian territory using HIMARS, GMLRS, and American artillery shells. However, the green light from the United States does not include the use of ATACMS. The U.S. remains against strikes deep into Russia.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine