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Sullivan: Ukraine can strike Russian forces ‘anywhere’ they attack from

The US has broadened its stance on Ukraine’s use of American-supplied weapons, allowing strikes inside Russia wherever its forces attack from across the border.
Sullivan: Russian operation in Kharkiv Oblast has lost momentum
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Kyiv. Photo: Ukrinform
Sullivan: Ukraine can strike Russian forces ‘anywhere’ they attack from

The United States has expanded its guidance to Ukraine regarding the use of American-supplied weapons against Russian forces attacking from across the border, according to US officials.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a PBS interview that Ukraine can strike “anywhere that Russian forces are coming across the border from the Russian side to the Ukrainian side to try to take additional Ukrainian territory.”

This clarification comes weeks after the US initially permitted Ukraine to strike inside Russia in response to attacks on Kharkiv. At that time, officials said that the policy was limited to the Kharkiv Oblast. However, Sullivan’s recent statement suggests a broader application of this policy.

“This is not about geography. It’s about common sense,” Sullivan told PBS. He argued that allowing Ukraine to retaliate against forces attacking it from across the border is logical.

US officials, speaking anonymously, maintain that this is not a policy shift. They contend that the original decision regarding Kharkiv did not explicitly exclude the possibility of responding to other cross-border attacks.

However, Sullivan’s language differs from earlier statements. In May, when the policy was first detailed, a senior US official said, “The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine can use US weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them.”

The policy still prohibits long-range strikes inside Russia, as one of the officials emphasized.

This development comes as Ukraine and other European officials have urged the US to loosen its strike restrictions inside Russia further. Ukrainian forces have already used American weapons to strike targets in Belgorod, Russia, at least once since the initial policy change.

Sullivan also indicated that if Russia moves to the northeastern city of Sumy near the Russian border, the policy would apply there as well.

Ukraine has increased the strikes on Russian territory in recent months. However, Ukrainian officials usually don’t comment on the strikes.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has reported intercepting and destroying 70 drones over Russian-occupied Crimea and the Black Sea overnight on 21 June. The Russian Ministry also claimed that its air defense in the Black Sea Fleet destroyed six unmanned boats of the Ukrainian Navy in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

The Yeysk, Temryuk, and Seversky districts of Russia’s Krasnodar Krai reportedly came under attack by Ukrainian drones overnight into 21 June, the oblast’s Operational Headquarters reported.

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