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Biden’s Bold Shift: Greenlighting Ukrainian Strikes Inside Russia with U.S. Arms Signals New Escalation in Conflict

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Joe Biden abruptly changed the public position he had taken on allowing Ukraine to use American weapons against targets in Russia. Biden, in the limited capacity that he is capable of articulating, had previously stated that American weapons were only to be used by Ukraine’s occupied areas. This included Occupied Crimea which Putin annexed over a decade earlier, as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts that were annexed by 2023.

Three U.S. officials, as well as two others familiar with the matter, confirmed that the Biden administration quietly permitted Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to launch a strike in Russia, near Kharkiv. This is a significant reversal, which will allow Ukraine to better protect its second largest city.

One of the U.S. officials stated that “the president recently instructed his team to ensure Ukraine is able use U.S. arms for counter-fire in Kharkiv, so Ukraine can strike back against Russian forces that are hitting or preparing to attack them.” The policy of not allowing “long-range” strikes within Russia “hasn’t changed.”

US weapons may now target Russian troops in Belgorod Oblast, as well as missile launchers and artillery, to counter the Russian invasion force that is aiming at Kharkiv. Russian aircraft are fair game as well, but like LBJ in Vietnam, Russian planes lined up wingtip to wingtip on a runway preparing for a bombing of Ukraine are off limits.

This change is the culmination a long-running debate within White House policy circles. By debate, I refer to a definitive route that was taken as the political sands of Biden’s tenure shifted.

The decision was made more on the basis of the risk that one would be left holding a position which is indefensible than any geostrategic calculations.

The day before, several European leaders had signaled a shift in their position.

Emmanuel Macron, French president, said at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, that French weapons, including long-range rockets, sent to Ukraine were allowed to target Russian bases.

Macron stated that “Ukrainian land is being attacked by bases in Russia” during a trip to Schloss Meseberg, Brandenburg in Germany. “How can we explain to Ukrainians that they will have to defend these towns, and everything else we see around Kharkiv right now, if you tell them it’s not permitted to strike the point where the missiles are launched?”

Macron said, “We believe that we should let them neutralize the sites where missiles are fired, and in general, the sites from where Ukraine is attacked.”

Scholz, a German politician, echoed Macron and said that Ukraine is allowed to defend themselves as long as they respect the conditions set by the countries who supplied the weapons (including the United States) and international law.

Biden’s administration was concerned about escalating war. This led to the initial limitations that prevented Ukraine from firing US weapons into Russian territory. The US changed its position after the Ukrainian government explicitly stated the need to protect Kharkiv. European allies also began to shift their stance, and NATO leadership quietly encouraged the US to allow these strikes.

Blinken, who visited Ukraine this month, heard the Ukrainians’ request first-hand to attack targets within Russia’s borders. Blinken said that during the trip, the US would ensure that Ukraine is in a position to “deter and defend itself against future attacks.”

One European diplomat said earlier this week that the US was feeling the weight from the argument, and expected a possible change in US policies.

Scholz’s comments about Ukraine being able to use German weaponry against Russian targets are a good example of how quickly this train is moving. The day before Scholz made his statement, Scholz was standing next to Italy’s Prime Minster Giorgia Melons and said the exact opposite.

The New York Times published a report on Wednesday about the internal discussion.

After months of complaints from Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, the White House is now reassessing the risks, in a formal and rapid manner. Approving further U.S. weaponry would allow Kyiv to counterattack on artillery sites and missile bases that are now a haven in Russia.

In Moldova, on Wednesday, Secretary of state Antony J. Blinken was the first official to openly leave the possibility for the Biden administration to “adapt and adapt” its stance regarding attacking Russia with American weapons based upon changing battlefield conditions.

Blinken stated that “we’re constantly determining what’s needed to ensure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself.”

Jake Sullivan, as I noted in my previous Ukraine Update was being attacked from all sides over his policy. Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed his disapproval of what was referred to as a Biden Policy. According to my count, at the very least 12 nations have approved Ukraine’s use of its weapons against Russian targets.

This is the new policy for the North Ukraine battlespace.

The map shows the markings of four Russian aircraft which were downed in an ambush by Patriot in May 2023. The White House warned that if Ukraine repeated the incident, it would cancel all arms sales to Ukraine.

This is the new battlefield if Ukraine is allowed to use any Western system against any Russian target.

Putin has warned of grave consequences.

To bring this war to a fair conclusion, Russia will have to be forced to leave the occupied Ukraine (Crimea lies on the bubble). To achieve this, Russian military assets located in Russia need to be attacked. Jake Sullivan’s idea of allowing Russia to launch missiles, bombers and artillery from a sanctuary area is among the stupidest ideas he has ever had.

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