NATO Chief Says US Must Let Ukraine Attack Russia With Its Weapons 

Following pressure from various international sources, President Joe Biden caved this week, saying Ukraine can use weapons supplied by the U.S. on targets within Russia.

Until Thursday, America had forbidden Ukraine to use any weapons that the U.S. provided them to attack targets within Russia’s borders. They were only allowed to be used on defensive measures to attack Russian troops and infrastructure that were stationed within Ukraine.

But, following increasing pressure from outside sources, Biden apparently changed his mind.

The most recent pressure came from Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, who said earlier this week that removing the weapons restrictions would make it so Ukraine could push the Russian military forces back.

As he said in an interview with media outlet The Economist:

“I think the time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine because, especially now when a lot of the fighting is going on in Kharkiv, close to the border.

“To deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves.”

On Thursday, the White House announced that it had changed its position. That being said, Ukraine is only allowed to use U.S.-supplied weapons on targets in Russia that are near Kharkiv, according to two officials with the Biden administration who spoke with CNN.

One of those officials said:

“The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use U.S. supplied-weapons for counterfire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them.”

Even though this announcement is a major change from long-standing policy in the U.S., it still comes with some major restrictions on how Ukraine can use the weapons. Thus far, Ukraine hasn’t requested permission to use the weapons in areas beyond the restricted area.

The official who spoke with CNN further said that they don’t anticipate that the White House would widen the area that Ukraine could attack with U.S. weapons.

Ukraine has been trying for a few weeks now to get this permission, ever since Russia stepped up its attacks in and around the northeastern city of Kharkiv. The country says that it needs the U.S. munition to fire into Russia.

The ATACMS, which is what the long-range missiles are called, have the ability to hit targets that are about 200 miles away.

Thus far, Ukraine has only been allowed to use anti-aircraft weapons supplied by America to take down any imminent threat from a Russian aircraft that flew in both Russian and Ukrainian airspace. 

What the prohibition has done, though, is prevented Ukraine from targeting any Russian aircraft that aren’t in flight but rather sitting at a base within Russia’s borders.