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Ukraine asks US for permission to strike Russia with US weapons – WSJ

Saturday, 18 May 2024, 03:38
Ukraine asks US for permission to strike Russia with US weapons – WSJ
A piece of military equipment on the battlefield. Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Ukraine has asked US President Joe Biden's administration to help identify targets in Russia that Kyiv could strike with its own weapons. Ukraine has also asked the US to lift restrictions on the use of US-provided weapons on military targets in Russia.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, citing US officials and defence officials 

Details: The request came at a time when Russia had made its biggest territorial gains in Ukraine in almost 18 months in the northeastern part of Kharkiv Oblast. 


Other US officials said that Ukraine's request, which was made last week, was being considered. 

If the US agreed to such a change, it could mark a major shift in policy for an administration that had long sought to reduce the risk of military escalation between Washington and Moscow while supporting Ukraine. 

Quote from Air Force General CQ Brown Jr.: "They did ask [the United States] for help to strike into Russia. It wasn’t specific to a weapons system but additional help in striking the Russians."


More details: Russia's attack on Kharkiv Oblast earlier this month forced Ukraine to divert troops and resources from other parts of the country, putting more strain on already overstretched forces that had long been waiting for additional US weapons. 

The White House spokesman said that current US policy does not support such targeting assistance or the use of US weapons on Russian territory: "We don’t encourage or enable attacks inside of Russia, which has been our longstanding policy."

The WSJ wrote that the US had provided surface-to-surface missile systems and other ATACMS weapons on the condition that they would not be used to strike targets in Russia. Ukraine agreed to this caveat as a condition for receiving the weapons, and it was intended to reduce the risk of the conflict escalating into a direct clash between the United States and Russia. 

In September 2022, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the United States would "cross a red line" and be considered a "direct party to the conflict" in the eyes of the Kremlin if it supplied Kyiv with longer-range missiles. 

Since then, however, Russia has turned to North Korea for ballistic missiles and Iran for drones, and used these weapons to intensify attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

Russia is now moving forces and equipment into Ukraine’s north-east from safe territory nearby, intensifying attacks in Kharkiv Oblast. 


  • During his visit to Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on Ukraine's use of US weapons. He said that the US side still did not authorise the use of US weapons to strike Russia. However, unlike previous statements from the White House, he did not oppose such strikes in principle.
  • At the same time, the Pentagon said that the US position on the use of US weapons in Ukraine had not changed.

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