Official: Ukraine can use US air defences vs. Russian threats on Russian soil

    WORLD  30 May 2024 - 15:42

    The United States fears that recent Ukrainian drone strikes targeting Russian nuclear early-warning systems could dangerously unsettle Moscow at a time when the Biden administration is weighing whether to lift restrictions on Ukraine using US-supplied weapons in cross-border attacks.

    “The United States is concerned about Ukraine’s recent strikes against Russian ballistic missile early-warning sites,” said a US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity, The Washington Post reports.

    About three weeks ago, shortly after Russia began its assault on Kharkiv, Ukraine asked the United States to ease long-standing restrictions on using US-provided weapons to attack targets inside Russia. Some senior officials favor such a move, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has urged President Biden to agree to lift the restraints. The White House is considering such a proposal, but no action has been taken yet, officials say.

    At a news conference on May 29 in Moldova, Blinken said the United States has “not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine, but Ukraine, as I’ve said before, has to make its own decisions about the best way to effectively defend itself.”

    Blinken added that the United States has “adapted and adjusted” to changing conditions on the battlefield and that as Russia pursues new tactics of “aggression” and “escalation,” was “confident that we’ll continue to do that.”

    There is no restriction on Ukraine using US-supplied air defenses to shoot down Russian missiles or fighter jets over Russian territory “if they pose a threat to Ukraine,” the US official said.

    But US officials have previously expressed concern to Ukrainian officials over Kyiv’s attacks on Russian soil, sometimes even intervening during the planning stage. Ahead of the one-year mark of the war, the GUR was planning attacks on Moscow, according to a leaked classified report from the US National Security Agency that was later confirmed by two senior Ukrainian military officials.

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