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Biden allows Ukraine's use of US arms to hit Russia: reports

May 30, 2024

According to media reports citing US officials, President Joe Biden allowed Ukraine to strike Russian territories with US weapons to defend Kharkiv.

Ukrainian forces fire a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer at a Russian position in the Kharkiv region on April 21, 2024
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been pushing allies to allow Kyiv to use longer-range weaponry they supply to hit targets on Russian soil Image: ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP

US President Joe Biden has reportedly given the go-ahead for Ukraine to use American weapons for strikes inside Russia.

News agencies cited senior US officials who provided the information on condition of anonymity.

The reports come amid growing calls for Kyiv to be allowed to use weaponry supplied by allies to conduct strikes inside Russian territory.

Weapons reportedly to be used in defense of Kharkiv

The cited US officials are reported to have said that the measure would be for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv.

"The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use US-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them," AFP news agency quoted a senior US official as saying on condition of anonymity.

"Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of ATACMS or long-range strikes inside of Russia has not changed," the official said, referring to long-range missiles recently sent by Washington to Kyiv.

The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is capable of hitting targets 300 kilometers away and had already arrived in Ukraine this month at the president's direction, according to the Pentagon.

Ukrainian strikes on Russian soil?

Growing calls to allow Ukrainian strikes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been pushing allies — the US in particular —  to allow the use of the longer-range weaponry they supply to hit targets on Russian soil.

Countries including Britain, the Netherlands and France say Kyiv has the right to use their weapons to strike military targets in Russia. 

Earlier on Thursday, Russia warned Ukraine's allies against allowing Kyiv to launch strikes on Russian territory using Western weapons.

"It will ultimately be very damaging to the interests of those countries that have chosen the path of escalating tensions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Calls grow to allow Ukrainian strikes inside Russia

kb/fb (AP, Reuters)