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The Guardian: Zelenskyy pushes for use of long-range systems within Russia amid uncertainty from partners

His comments followed the Biden administration’s decision to ease its restrictions on the use of US-supplied HIMARS artillery near Kharkiv while still prohibiting the use of long-range ATACMS systems.
Zelenskyy Kharkiv Oblast fortifications
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy inspects fortifications in Kharkiv Oblast in April 2024. Photo:
The Guardian: Zelenskyy pushes for use of long-range systems within Russia amid uncertainty from partners

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an interview with The Guardian, said he believes having Western weapons and not using them against murderers and terrorists and those who are killing Ukrainians from the Russian side is absolutely illogical.”

Zelenskyy’s remarks came as the Biden administration on 30 May relaxed its policy forbidding Ukraine from using US weapons to hit targets inside Russia. It gave permission for Ukraine to use US-supplied HIMARS artillery to strike Russian soldiers and command and control centers, but only near Kharkiv.

Nevertheless, the White House continues to prohibit deeper strikes with the long-range ATACMS systems. Zelenskyy told journalists that he wanted to use long-range weapons, such as the UK-made Storm Shadow missiles, to hit bases within Russia.

He said that, despite reports to the contrary, the UK had not given “100% permission” to do so. The Ukrainian leaders suggested the UK and other partners wait for the “consensus”, with the position in Washington being crucial.

“We raised this issue twice. We did not get confirmation from him (David Cameron, the foreign secretary),” said Zelenskyy.

The Ukrainian leader also stated that new US weapons had still not arrived in sufficient quantities to equip additional Ukrainian brigades in the northeast, where Russia opened a new front.

Biden has long been concerned about the risks of a direct nuclear conflict with Moscow. The US president is likely to skip a peace summit in June, which Ukraine has organized in Switzerland. Asked if he felt let down by the US and its leadership, he replied: “I think they need to believe in us more.”

However, “No one is accusing anyone,” he said. “We are where we are. We are fighting, and we are at war, and not at the beginning. That’s why we need to find a way out of the situation every day.”

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