Biden Gives Ukraine Limited Permission to Hit Russia

( – Russia’s offensive against Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, has intensified in recent weeks. Many of the attacks have come from missiles fired from inside Russia. That has left Ukraine in a precarious position because it’s not allowed to use American munitions to strike inside its adversary’s country. President Joe Biden has reportedly made it easier for Ukraine to defend itself.

Biden has partially rescinded the prohibition on Ukraine using American munitions to strike in Russia’s interior. The administration reportedly gave the green light for the country to launch retaliatory strikes to protect Kharkiv. According to The Associated Press, the president’s directive allows Ukraine to “hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them.”

The Ukrainian military is allowed to use Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets, High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket launchers, and artillery. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also indicated the US might lift more restrictions as time goes on.

While Ukraine is allowed to use several high-powered weapons to strike back, the US did not lift the prohibition on using the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) or long-range missiles to offensively strike Russia. That has left Ukraine hamstrung, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

On June 2, Zelenskyy spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore and mentioned the US prohibition on ATACMS. He said that while he appreciated Biden partially lifting the ban, the US president didn’t go far enough. The Ukrainian president pointed out that Russia is striking Kharkiv from airfields inside Russia with impunity because they know “Ukraine will not fire back because it has no corresponding systems and no permissions.”

Zelenskyy said Russia has approximately 300 weapon systems deployed to its border that it uses to attack Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin keeps them there because he knows “Ukraine cannot target them with Western weaponry” even if Russia fires first.

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