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11 Dec, 2022 18:39

US outlines position on Ukrainian strikes inside Russia

The latest aid package to Kiev does not mean Washington supports airstrikes deep inside Russia, NSC spokesman John Kirby has said
US outlines position on Ukrainian strikes inside Russia

The US has not explicitly encouraged Ukraine to hit targets deep within Russia, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Sunday.

His comments were apparently a response to Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, who claimed on Saturday that Kiev does not rule out strikes inside Russia.

Asked by the ABC anchor whether he thought Ukrainian drones should be striking “airfields deep inside Russia,” Kirby first stated that he would “let the Ukrainian Armed Forces speak for their operations.

He then clarified that “We are certainly not encouraging or enabling Ukrainian operations inside Russia. We are trying to make sure they can defend their territory, win back their ground in Ukraine.”

From the very beginning, Martha, we’ve talked about monitoring and being mindful of the risks of escalation of this war because it’s not only not good for the Ukrainian people, it’s not good for our interests, and it’s not good for the Russian people,” Kirby concluded.

The official had previously referenced Washington’s latest $275 million military aid package to Ukraine, which includes missiles for the HIMARS system, artillery shells, air defense components, and other armaments.

Announced on Friday, the package brings the total amount of military aid supplied by the Biden administration to Ukraine to approximately $20 billion, with $19.3 billion of that awarded since the start of Russia’s military operation in February.

Following an attack by Ukraine earlier this month on two Russian airbases hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border, Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that the US had “neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia.”  

However, Friday’s Times report suggested that while “Washington does not want to be seen publicly giving the green light” to its Eastern European ally, the Pentagon is not telling the Ukrainians not to strike the Russians on their own territory, instead merely insisting they heed international law and the Geneva convention – rules that a growing volume of evidence suggests they have already broken.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has previously warned the US that providing Kiev with long-range weapons to attack Russia would cross a “red line” and potentially make Washington “a direct party to the conflict.