News Tech

Growing pressure on President Biden to allow the use of US weapons in Ukraine-Russia war 

Pressure is mounting on US President Joe Biden to permit Ukraine to use Western-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory. This week, several US allies signalled openness to this possibility after months of concern about potential escalation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of “serious consequences,” particularly for what he termed “small countries” in Europe. 

White House national security spokesman John Kirby indicated late on Wednesday that while US support for Kyiv has evolved, “right now, there’s also no change to our policy.”

Ukraine has been struggling to counter a Russian offensive in the east, with Kharkiv enduring weeks of deadly attacks often launched from Russian military outposts near the Ukrainian border.

The US has supplied Ukraine with thousands of defensive weapons, tanks, and air defence systems. Since April, it has also sent Ukraine the longest-range version of ATACMS missiles, capable of travelling up to 190 miles (300km). 

Ukraine has used drones to attack targets deeper into Russian territory, with recent reports indicating a Ukrainian drone strike on an early-warning radar near Orsk, about 1,500 km (932 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

It is also believed that Ukraine has already used some Western-supplied weapons for attacks on Russian territory discreetly. Latvia’s foreign minister, Baiba Braze, told Ukrainian media that some countries had provided weapons “without conditions” to Ukraine, although not everything is publicly disclosed.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Washington’s position would “adapt and adjust” based on evolving battlefield conditions. Blinken made this statement while in Prague for a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting.

Blinken’s statement followed more direct comments from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said Ukraine should be “allowed” to use Western-supplied weapons against military sites on Russian territory, though not on civilian targets. Macron has long advocated for more direct intervention in the Ukraine war, and other Western leaders seem to be warming to the idea.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been cautious publicly, but a Berlin spokesperson noted that “defensive action is not limited to one’s own territory, but also includes the territory of the aggressor.” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg recently told the Economist that the West should permit Ukraine to defend itself by striking military bases in Russia. 

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said it was up to Ukraine to decide how to use British weapons and Polish Deputy Defence Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz said Ukrainians could use Polish weapons “as they see fit.” 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has argued it is “unfair” for Western countries to impose limits on the use of their weapons while acknowledging the need to maintain partner support.

Russia has reacted angrily to the idea of Western weapons being used against its territory. Putin warned that European countries should be aware of the risks, especially given their “small territory” and “dense population.” He added that responsibility for any strikes within Russian territory would lie with Western arms suppliers, even if carried out by Ukrainian forces.

Some NATO countries remain wary. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she did not see the necessity of hitting Russian military bases and urged the West to supply more air defences to Ukraine instead.

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment