Pressure on Biden to allow Russia to attack Ukraine with US weapons

video title, The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen explains why this is a crucial point in the battle

  • author, Laura Gozzi and Tom Bateman
  • stock, BBC News, London & Washington

US President Joe Biden is facing pressure from allies to allow Ukraine to attack targets inside Russia using Western weapons.

Several European countries, including France, Germany and the UK, have signaled they are open to loosening restrictions on how Ukraine can use Western-supplied weapons.

They believe that Ukraine can launch offensive attacks on Russian military targets across the border to better thwart its advances.

But Washington, which supplies most of Ukraine’s arms, has resisted easing these restrictions because of fears of escalation. It neither encouraged nor implemented Ukrainian strikes on Russian soil.

Pressure on the United States to ease sanctions on Ukraine striking inside Russia has increased in recent days, with French President Emmanuel Macron expressing direct support for the move. He said Ukraine should be “allowed” to use Western-supplied weapons against military bases on Russian territory — though not necessarily on civilian targets.

That pressure has been heightened by Russia’s recent advances on the battlefield. Moscow has made significant gains in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region and northeastern Kharkiv region. Ukraine’s losses were exacerbated by a partisan deadlock in Washington that caused long delays in the delivery of missiles and artillery shells.

Mr Macron has for some time advocated for direct intervention in the Ukraine war – an idea that other Western leaders also seem to be softening.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was cautious in public but a spokesman in Berlin said, “Defensive action is not confined to one’s own territory, but also includes the territory of the aggressor.”

UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron said earlier this month that Ukraine should decide how to use British weapons, and this week Poland’s deputy defense minister said Ukrainians could use Polish weapons “as they see fit”.

Debate over the issue is ongoing within the US administration, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken believed to be among those trying to convince President Biden to ease restrictions.

Mr Blinken became the first senior administration official to suggest the US might change its position during a visit to Moldova on Wednesday, telling reporters that Washington’s position on the matter would “adapt and adjust” based on changing battlefield conditions.

“[Ukraine] It must make its own decisions about the best way to defend itself effectively. We are going to ensure the necessary equipment for that,” he said.

“What has changed in terms of how Russia continues its aggression and expansion, we have adapted and adjusted, and I believe we will continue to do so,” Mr Blinken added.

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Among the weapons supplied by the United States to Ukraine are High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (Himars).

But there are significant risks to any decision by Mr Biden to loosen restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US-supplied weapons.

Ukrainian drone strikes have already reportedly targeted Russian nuclear early warning radar systems within the country’s borders.

US administration, According to the Washington PostKiev expressed its concerns over two attempted attacks against radar stations that provide conventional air defense and warnings from Western countries about nuclear missiles.

The report cited an unnamed U.S. official as describing these as key locations because “Russia could perceive its strategic deterrent capabilities being targeted, which would undermine Russia’s ability to maintain a nuclear deterrent against the United States.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned this week that Ukraine’s attacks on Russia by Western missiles risked igniting a wider war. “Continued escalation will lead to serious consequences,” he said. “Do they want a global conflict?”

He also said that while Ukraine’s forces had carried out the attacks, responsibility for any attacks inside his country’s territory rested with Western arms suppliers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously said it is “unfair” for Western countries to impose limits on the use of their weapons, while admitting that Ukraine cannot risk the support of its partners.

Earlier this month, Mr Blinken met President Zelensky in Kiev. Mr Zelenskiy raised “security guarantees” that include a long-term bilateral security agreement between the US and Ukraine that is close to being signed.

Any question about whether Washington would allow Ukraine to use American weapons to launch an incursion into Russian territory would have come up in their private talks.

Some NATO countries are nervous about that prospect. On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she did not think it was necessary to attack Russian military bases and instead urged the West to provide more air defenses to Ukraine.

The US has already delivered thousands of self-defense weapons, tanks and air defense systems to Ukraine. Since April, it has also sent a longer-range version of the ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, which can travel up to 190 miles (300 km).

See also  FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been indicted on new criminal charges

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *