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Ukraine Presses US to Officially Lift Ban on Striking Russia Using US Weapons

Ukrainian officials are pressing the Biden administration to lift its ban on using US weapons to strike Russia’s territories.

This week, a delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians is in Washington to seek congressional assistance regarding what they perceive as a hindrance to the Ukrainian war effort. They believe that this issue is impeding Kyiv’s ability to target Russian military supply depots across the border.

Ukraine knew about Russia’s plan to start a new offensive in Kharkiv Region, but they were restrained from launching a preemptive strike using US-supplied weaponry due to Washington’s policy.

The Biden administration stipulated that the long-range weapons provided to Ukraine could not be utilized for strikes inside Russian territory as a condition of their delivery.

“The main problem right now is the White House policy to limit our capability” to strike military targets inside Russia, said David Arakhamia, chair of the ruling Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian parliament, during his visit to Washington on Tuesday.

Russia is aware of this constraint and was able to gather a force of at least 30000 troops and equipment along the border without concern about being targeted by the long-range US weapons.

Two US officials confirmed 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, who was granted anonymity to address this sensitive matter.

Notably, during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s surprise visit to Kyiv, when asked whether the US prohibits Ukraine from striking Russia, Blinken responded that Washington “does not encourage this, but Ukraine must decide for itself what to do.”

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