Biden may lift ban on U.S. weapons use in Russia amid pressure

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden, after long resisting this issue due to fears of escalation, is now moving closer to lifting the ban on the use of U.S. weapons in Russia, The New York Times reported on May 29.

The White House is reassessing its position on allowing Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to strike Russian territory. President Biden has long resisted this decision out of fear of escalating a direct confrontation with Russia. However, with pressure from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and NATO allies, a formal reassessment is underway. If approved, this would allow Ukraine to launch counterattacks on artillery and missile sites in Russia.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been the first administration official to publicly suggest that the White House could adapt its position based on changing battlefield conditions. He stated that decisions will be made based on what is necessary for Ukraine to effectively defend itself.

While Biden has remained silent on the matter, some advisors suggest that a change in his position is inevitable. However, if he does change his stance, it will likely come with strict restrictions on the use of weapons, limiting them to military targets inside Russia that are used to strike Ukraine.

Read also: Blinken hints at US support for Ukraine’s right to strike Russian territory

It is anticipated that Biden will maintain the ban on striking deep into Russian territory or targeting critical infrastructure. Nevertheless, if he does alter his position, it may not be formally announced. Some officials argue that concerns about Ukraine using U.S. weapons to strike military targets in Russia are misplaced. They believe that Ukraine has a legitimate military need to weaken Russia's ability to wage war, including targeting oil production facilities and power plants. They argue that similar actions were taken by the United States during World War II in Germany and Japan.

Furthermore, these officials argue that fears of Russian escalation are exaggerated. They point out that other NATO countries, like the United Kingdom, have provided weapons to Ukraine for strikes on Russia without facing repercussions. They believe that Putin's threats of escalation since the beginning of the war have been empty. However, the White House expressed concern over strikes on Russian nuclear early warning radar systems, emphasizing the importance of nuclear stability and cautioning Ukraine about potentially misinterpreted intentions.

Use of Western weapons on Russian territory

The U.S. does not "encourage" Ukraine to use American weapons to strike Russian territory, White House spokesperson John Kirby said on May 17.

Foreign weapons should be used "to reclaim Ukrainian sovereign territory" and this should occur "specifically on Ukrainian territory," the Pentagon emphasized.

Read also: Blinken pushes Biden to end ban on Ukraine's use of U.S. weapons in Russia

Ukraine likely received U.S. approval to use American weapons for strikes on Russian territory, according to Le Monde, analyzing statements by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit to Kyiv.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron pledged $3.74 billion in annual military aid to Ukraine on May 3. London does not object to the use of its weapons for strikes on Russia, he added.

Le Monde views Cameron and Blinken's statements as "a sign of a deliberate shift in the West's position" on this issue.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown provided evasive answers on May 20, when asked whether Ukraine could use American weapons to strike the aggressor country amid the Russian offensive in Kharkiv Oblast.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told The New York Times on May 21 that he had asked the U.S. to allow Ukraine to use American missiles and other weapons on military targets inside Russia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated his opposition on May 26 to Ukraine using Western weapons to strike Russian territory.

Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonsson declared that Ukraine could use Swedish weapons for attacks on Russian territory.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine