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ISW: US Ban on Striking Russia Hinders Ukraine’s Ability to Defend Kharkiv Region

ISW: US Ban on Striking Russia Hinders Ukraine’s Ability to Defend Kharkiv Region
Ukrainian territory in range of glide bombs launched from Russian airspace as of May 9, 2024. (Source: ISW)

The US prohibition on using supplied weaponry for strikes against Russian military targets is significantly undermining Ukraine’s capacity to defend itself from Russia’s offensive actions in the northern Kharkiv region.

This was reported by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on May 15’s assessment.

The US Helsinki Commission stated that the US should allow Ukraine to conduct strikes against military targets in Russia’s border areas amid an ongoing Russian offensive operation into the Kharkiv region from Russia.

On May 15, the US Helsinki Commission declared that the US ought to “not only allow but encourage” Ukrainian forces to target Russian forces operating and staging in border regions of Russia as a response to Russia’s offensive actions in the northern area of Kharkiv region.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated on May 15 that the US has not “encouraged or enabled” Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory. However, he emphasized that Ukraine ultimately has the sovereign right to determine its course of action.

Politico reported on May 14, citing two unnamed US officials, that the Biden administration’s policy has not changed. “The assistance is for the defense and not for offensive operations in Russian territory,” said one of the officials.

“A Ukrainian operation to strike systems in Russia that are directly supporting Russia’s offensive ground operations in northern Kharkiv region would be an inherently defensive effort and to characterize such an effort as ‘offensive’ would be inaccurate,” reported ISW.

ISW has recently evaluated that restrictions imposed by the US on Ukraine’s capability to target military sites in Russia have established a safe haven in border regions of Russia, from where Russia’s aircraft can carry out glide bomb and missile attacks on Ukrainian positions and settlements.

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