Biden allows limited Ukrainian strikes inside Russia using U.S.-provided weapons

President Biden has partially lifted a ban on Ukraine using U.S.-provided weapons for strikes inside Russia, three U.S. officials tell CBS News.

Ukraine may use the weapons on the Russian side of the border near the besieged Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, against concentrations of Russian troops and Russian artillery pieces, one U.S. official said. Asked whether that includes Russian airplanes this official said, “We’ve never told them they can’t shoot down a Russian airplane over Russian soil that’s coming to attack them.”

It was not immediately known whether any U.S. weapons have been used under the new guidelines so far. “That’s up to [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy to decide and announce,” another U.S. official said.

Speaking during a visit to Moldova on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken previewed the shift in the U.S. stance, saying, “At every step along the way, we’ve adapted and adjusted as necessary. And so that’s exactly what we’ll do going forward.”

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S.-supplied weapons for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkiv region, so Ukraine can hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them — or preparing to attack them,” a U.S. official said. “Our policy with respect to prohibiting the use of ATACMS — or long range strikes inside of Russia — has not changed.” 

There has been public pressure from NATO and other European leaders, who support allowing Ukraine to use weapons provided to them in broader ways.

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