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Washington Post: US allows Ukraine to strike Russian territory but with limits

Ukrainian officials claim US restrictions on weapons use continue to give Russia a military advantage, WP reported.
State Border Guard Service of Ukraine,
A Ukrainian soldier. Credit: State Border Guard Service of Ukraine,
Washington Post: US allows Ukraine to strike Russian territory but with limits

The Washington Post (WP) reports that Ukrainian officials have claimed the United States is restricting Ukraine from firing American-provided weapons more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) into Russian territory.

The WP reported that this limitation, while allowing Ukraine to target some Russian positions, still prevents strikes on key Russian airfields used to launch devastating glide bomb attacks.

According to two anonymous Ukrainian officials, the US policy change has reduced some Russian attacks. However, they argue that the range restriction continues to limit Ukraine’s ability to counter Russian operations effectively.

US officials disputed the specific 100-kilometer claim. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz said, “This is not about geography or a certain radius, but if Russia is attacking or about to attack from its territory into Ukraine, Ukraine has the ability to hit back against the forces that are hitting it from across the border.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the policy is based on “common sense” rather than strict geographical limitations.

The WP reported that despite these statements, Ukrainian military officials appear to believe they have less latitude than US officials suggest.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 10 June that the policy change has only reduced Russia’s “ground sanctuary” by about 15 percent.

Since the policy shift, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has significantly reduced Russian missile attacks.

Mayor Ihor Terekhov said that missile attacks on the city dropped from 25 in May to zero so far in June. However, he emphasized that Kharkiv remains “under the constant threat” from glide bombs, which are typically launched from beyond the US-approved strike range.

Ukrainian officials argue that permission to strike deeper into Russian territory could further reduce Russia’s ability to wage war. One official said, “Neither the range nor the category [of weapons] is sufficient.”

Despite the policy change, the WP reports President Biden continues withholding approval for long-range US weapons like the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). As a result, Ukraine still relies on homemade drones for strikes deeper inside Russia.

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