Ukraine Asks for U.S. Help in Striking Targets Inside Russia

ukraine asks for u.s. help in striking targets inside russia

Ukraine has asked the Biden administration to help identify targets in Russia for Kyiv to strike using its own weapons. It has also asked the U.S. to lift restrictions on the use of American provided weapons against military objectives inside Russia, U.S. and defense officials said.

The request comes as Russia had made its biggest territorial gains in Ukraine in nearly 18 months in the northeast region of Kharkiv. Other U.S. officials said that Ukraine’s request, which was made over the past week, was being reviewed.

If the U.S. were to agree to such changes, it could mark a major policy shift by the administration, which has long sought to reduce the risk of military escalation between Washington and Moscow while backing Ukraine.

“They did ask [the United States] for help to strike into Russia,’’ Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr.told reporters traveling with him to Europe. “It wasn’t specific to a weapons system but additional help in striking the Russians.”

Russia’s assault across the border earlier this month has forced Ukraine to divert troops and resources from other parts of the country, putting strains on an already outmanned force that has been long waiting for additional U.S.-provided weapons.

ukraine asks for u.s. help in striking targets inside russia

A White House spokesman said that current U.S. policy doesn’t support providing such targeting assistance or using American-weapons inside Russia. “We don’t encourage or enable attacks inside of Russia, which has been our longstanding policy,” the spokesman said.

The U.S. has provided the ATACMS surface-to-surface missile and other weapons systems, with the proviso that they not be used to strike targets on Russian territory. That stipulation, which Ukraine agreed to as a condition of receiving the weapons, was intended to reduce the risk that the conflict could escalate into a direct clash between the U.S. and Russia.

Russia’s foreign ministry warned in September 2022 that the U.S. would “cross a red line” and would be considered a “direct party to the conflict” in the Kremlin’s eyes if it supplied longer-range missiles to Kyiv.

Since then, however, Russia has turned to North Korea for ballistic missiles and to Iran for drones and used the weapons to step up attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure.

The U.S. prohibition—and its refusal to supply intelligence that Ukraine could use to attack targets in Russia with Ukraine’s own drones and weapons systems—has constrained Kyiv’s ability to attack Russia’s command posts and where its troops gather on the Russian side of the border.

Russia is moving forces and resources toward northeast Ukraine from the safety of its own territory nearby as it steps up attacks in the Kharkiv region.

Ukraine’s military said Friday that it was fending off fresh Russian assaults in the Kharkiv area, concentrated in the border city of Vovchansk, where Russia controls northern parts, and villages between the border and Kharkiv.

“Our soldiers are inflicting serious losses on the occupiers,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on a visit earlier this week to the regional capital Kharkiv. “This axis remains extremely difficult, we’re strengthening our units.”

A spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, which is responsible for strikes in Russia, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Brown said that while it doesn’t appear Russia is launching a “large incursion” into Kharkiv, it is aiming, in part, to create a buffer for the Russian border city of Belgorod, which Ukraine forces struck in mid-March.

ukraine asks for u.s. help in striking targets inside russia

Last month, Congress passed a long-awaited foreign-aid package, which included more than $60 billion for Ukraine, ending a nearly six-month suspension of the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine. While some of the newly-sent weapons have reached Ukraine’s front-line troops, others won’t arrive until June, U.S. defense officials said.

During a visit to Kyiv last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken deflected a reporter’s question about whether the U.S. would consider lifting its restrictions on Ukraine’s use of U.S.-provided weapons. “We have not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine, but ultimately Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war,” he said.

Earlier this month, as Russia claimed territory in northeast Ukraine, the U.K. suggested Ukraine had the right to use British-supplied weapons against targets in Russia.

“Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself,” Foreign Secretary David Cameron said at the time. A Russian spokesman described the U.K.’s position as a “direct escalation of tension around the Ukrainian conflict.”

Alan Cullison in Kyiv and James Marson in Brussels contributed to this article

Write to Nancy A. Youssef at [email protected] and Michael R. Gordon at [email protected]

OTHER NEWS

22 minutes ago

Bryson DeChambeau’s Olympic snub proves major flaw in professional golf

22 minutes ago

Will landscaping increase home value? We asked the pros

22 minutes ago

Human rights lawyer to political reformer: Who is Keir Starmer, the UK's new would-be prime minister

25 minutes ago

New Zealand's gun laws, tightened after the 2019 mosque attack, being revised by an ex-gun lobbyist

29 minutes ago

Australia news live: Indigenous leader Rev Dr D Gondarra dies; mass cull ordered to stop NSW bird flu outbreak

29 minutes ago

Hogan distances himself from Trump endorsement: ‘I have no interest in it’

29 minutes ago

Fossil fuel consumption, emissions hit all-time highs: Research

29 minutes ago

Saudi Arabia resumes issuing Umrah visas as Haj ends

29 minutes ago

Four Chinese developers face make-or-break week in liquidation cases

33 minutes ago

Video: Child sexual abuse detective: This is what I tell ALL parents before their kids go to school camp

33 minutes ago

Getaway star Catriona Rowntree is stopped in the street with an 'odd' request in Japan: 'First time I've been asked this'

33 minutes ago

Child sexual abuse detective: This is what I tell ALL parents before their kids go to school camp

34 minutes ago

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorses Biden, gives $20 million to re-election effort 

34 minutes ago

Ask A Doctor: What Happens If I Leave Ventricular Tachycardia Untreated?

34 minutes ago

Historic flooding in China's Guangdong kills nine, warnings issued for other parts of country

34 minutes ago

Takeaways from AP's report on access to gene therapies for rare diseases

34 minutes ago

On this day in 2015: Jordan Spieth wins second-consecutive major at US Open

34 minutes ago

How Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone’s fractious chemistry made A Fistful of Dollars into a classic

34 minutes ago

Cafe Britaly, restaurant review: British Italian food that’s not at all annoying

34 minutes ago

10 celebrity couples you might not realise are in a relationship

34 minutes ago

Are pushy parents monsters or deliverers of potential?

34 minutes ago

The science of hydration and why eight glasses of water a day is a myth

34 minutes ago

Look: Bengals TE Mike Gesicki appears to have improved his Griddy

34 minutes ago

Three big brands fail Which? sunscreen tests

34 minutes ago

Stephen Warnock narrowly avoids hilarious blunder on BBC Radio 5 Live's broadcast of Slovenia's 1-1 draw vs Serbia... as fans joke the former Liverpool defender 'just about saved it'

34 minutes ago

'This new £12 balm is the perfect alternative to cult-favourite £36 Jones Road blusher'

34 minutes ago

China talks up support for IPOs. Investors are watching the speed of approval

38 minutes ago

Woman who lost four babies is now mum to rare identical quads

38 minutes ago

The ANC’s coalition conundrum

38 minutes ago

State Liberals 'not across the facts' of Peter Dutton's nuclear power plan

38 minutes ago

Soccer-Dominant Spain outclass Italy to book last-16 spot

38 minutes ago

'You can't tell Rohit Sharma to...': Sunil Gavaskar after India captain's dry run in T20 World Cup continues

39 minutes ago

Italy 0 - Spain 1: Initial reaction and random observations

39 minutes ago

Incoming Kaizer Chiefs coach developed R61 million Arsenal star

39 minutes ago

Kuwait resorts to power cuts amid scorching heat wave

39 minutes ago

Orioles rout Yankees 17-5 to win three-game series

39 minutes ago

How Willie Mays is at Rickwood Field game '100 percent spiritually’

39 minutes ago

Hear Trump mention losing the 2020 election, then backtrack, in newly released audio

39 minutes ago

Marlins to designate Christian Bethancourt for assignment

39 minutes ago

Jane Fonda leads tributes to Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland