Ukraine permitted to strike Russian territory near Kharkiv

Sunday, June 2, 2024

On Thursday, it was reported that US President Joe Biden gave permission for Ukraine to use U.S. weapons for counterattacks against Russian military targets near the Kharkiv region in response to Russian offensives in the area. The next day, Germany also granted permission for usage of their weapons against targets inside Russia. A US official said "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". Despite this, according to the official, no strikes deep inside Russia, such as through the ATACMS system, were allowed.

This is presumed to be in response to a request from Ukraine a few weeks ago for permission to attack Russian targets near the Kharkiv region. President Emmanuel Macron of France questioned how the Ukrainians were expected to protect Kharkiv without targeting "the point from which the missiles are fired?". He added "we should allow them to neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are fired". The United Kingdom also expressed a desire for Ukraine to have the ability attack inside Russia.

This is a major change from previous U.S. policy of not permitting strikes inside Russia, due to concerns about escalation. Ukraine was not permitted to use Western weapons to attack Russia and was forced to rely on its own arsenal for that task. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that throughout the war in Ukraine, the US policy "has been to adapt as the conditions have changed, battlefields change, as what Russia does has changed in terms of how it is pursuing its aggression escalation, we’ve adapted and adjusted too.”