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Biden Allows Ukraine To Use US Weapons To Attack Inside Russia In Highly Dangerous Escalation

Politico is reporting Thursday afternoon, “The Biden administration has quietly given Ukraine permission to strike inside Russia — solely near the area of Kharkiv — using U.S.-provided weapons, two U.S. officials and two other people familiar with the move said Thursday, a major reversal that will help Ukraine to better defend its second-largest city.”

An anonymous US official was cited a saying, “The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S. weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them.”

The same official stipulated that the policy of not allowing long-range strikes inside Russia “has not changed.” However, this is surely going to be a distinction without substance or meaning from Russia’s point of view, as it makes attacking Russia’s sovereign territory with US weaponry ‘allowable’ for the first time. According to more details of what are expected to be the immediate implications

In effect, Ukraine can now use American-provided weapons, such as rockets and rocket launchers, to shoot down launched Russian missiles heading toward Kharkiv, at troops massing just over the Russian border near the city, or Russian bombers launching bombs toward Ukrainian territory. But the official said Ukraine cannot use those weapons to hit civilian infrastructure or launch long-range missiles, such as the Army Tactical Missile System, to hit military targets deep inside Russia.

It’s a stunning shift the administration initially said would escalate the war by more directly involving the U.S. in the fight. But worsening conditions for Ukraine on the battlefield –– namely Russia’s advances and improved position in Kharkiv –– led the president to change his mind.

Ukraine has been complaining that all restrictions need to be taken off if it is to defend against Russia’s recent major offensive in Kharkiv, which was launched from across the border. For example, Russian artillery is able to fire from rear positions within the Belgorod region near the border. It meanwhile remains part of Moscow’s stated aim to push the border deeper into Ukraine to create a ‘buffer zone’ – making it harder for pro-Kiev forces to shell Russian towns and villages.

Politico’s fresh reporting is consistent with something Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. While visiting Moldova – itself feeling the pressure of the war right next door – Blinken laid out that the US does not “encourage or enable” Ukrainian attacks inside Russia – but he then moved the goalpost by stressing the US would “adapt and adjust” this position based on developing battlefield needs.

A reporter followed up by asking if he meant the White House will now support Ukrainian attacks inside Russia. Blinken responded with“Adapt and adjust means exactly that.”

On a covert level this was likely already happening all along…

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned earlier this week there will be “major consequences” if NATO countries support long-range strikes on Russian territory. While it’s long been clear that US, UK, French, and other West-supplied weaponry has been used against Crimea, this has yet to be the case when it comes to Russia proper. Or at least any such attack has not been made public yet.

This significant shift underscores the desperation of Western allies as Ukrainian forces have been getting rolled back in the Kharkiv region. It seems Washington, London, Paris, and Brussels simply cannot stomach a Ukrainian loss – but this desperation is leading to deepened and highly dangerous Western deepening involvement in the conflict. 

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ZeroHedge

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