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US State Department: If Russia expands front, Ukraine to be permitted to strike at greater distances

US lawmakers are calling for the removal of all restrictions on Ukraine’s use of long-range American missiles against Russian military targets, citing the need for a more robust defense strategy.
ATACMS Missile System
An Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) capable of striking both Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow occupied in 2014. Photo via
US State Department: If Russia expands front, Ukraine to be permitted to strike at greater distances

The US Congress is once again calling for the removal of all restrictions on the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ use of long-range American ATACMS missiles against Russian military targets on Russian territory, according to reports from a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

“War criminal (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his forces have calculated the exact distance for strikes on Ukraine from Russian territory – so that Ukraine cannot strike back. Although some restrictions on Ukrainian counterattacks have already been lifted, this is obviously not enough,” Republican Congressman Joe Wilson said

A House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing was dedicated to analyzing the Biden Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2025 for state operations in Europe.

Legislators supporting the removal of all bans on the Ukrainian Armed Forces emphasize that this demand has bipartisan support.

“I appreciate that the committee co-chair, Democrat Gregory Meeks, advocates for retaliatory strikes,” Wilson said during the hearing.

Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks previously told Voice of America that he also supports lifting restrictions on the Ukrainian Armed Forces, calling it a defensive necessity.

Republican Congressman Thomas Kean said that the policy change allowing Ukraine to strike targets on Russian territory only occurred after Russian troops opened a new front near Kharkiv. Even then, according to the Republican, “the administration resorted to half-measures.”

Responding to questions about current restrictions, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs James O’Brien said, “If Russia tries to expand the current front, Ukraine will be allowed to fire at a greater distance.”

O’Brien added that the US priority was to provide weapons and focus them “in areas of most acute need.”

According to administration officials, the main strategy for assisting Kyiv in 2025 is for Ukraine to win this war. To achieve this goal, they need to focus on battlefield supplies and rebuilding the Ukrainian economy to reduce dependence on partner countries.

In early June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized US President Joe Biden, arguing that it is necessary that the US would support Ukraine’s defense against potential renewed Russian aggression. While expressing gratitude for the US decision to permit Ukraine to use American munitions in strikes inside Russian territory, Zelenskyy highlighted the limitations imposed, particularly the restriction on using long-range ATACMS missiles.

After weeks of mounting pressure, Biden authorized Ukraine to deploy American missiles such as HIMARS to strike across the border north of Kharkiv, where Russian forces have been regrouping. However, the US has withheld permission for Ukraine to use the more advanced ATACMS systems.

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