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10 Jun, 2024 08:23

Kiev makes first airstrike on Russian border region – Sky News

Ukraine received permission to use donated weapons outside of its claimed territory from several Western nations last week
Kiev makes first airstrike on Russian border region – Sky News

The Ukrainian military has conducted its first-ever air-launched attack on territory it recognizes as Russian, Sky News reported on Sunday, citing an anonymous source.

A “Russian command node” was allegedly hit by an airstrike in Belgorod Region, according to the broadcaster. Moscow has not commented on the claim, but if confirmed, it would represent the first such instance since hostilities between the two nations erupted in February 2022.

No further details were shared with the news outlet, including the type of weapon and platform involved. Russia has air superiority on the front line and an extensive network of air defenses, which makes it highly risky for Ukraine to operate its remaining air force assets. However, it has conducted strikes inside Russia using small, hard-to-detect kamikaze drones.

Belgorod Region borders Ukraine’s Kharkov Region, where Russian forces made significant territorial gains last month. This reportedly prompted the administration of US President Joe Biden to authorize limited strikes with American weapons inside Russian territory. Following suit, some Western nations expressed support for a similar escalation.

Ukrainian officials have called the policy change insufficient, as they want to use long-range Western weapons to hit targets deep inside Russia. The UK and France have provided air-launched Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles to Kiev, which have a range of 550km.

Officials in both nations have publicly stated that they would be fine with Kiev using the weapons at its own discretion, but Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky has claimed that his government is yet to receive explicit permission.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the Sky News claim, but it has reported that on Sunday morning, a Ukrainian Neptun-MD anti-ship missile was intercepted over Belgorod Region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned last week that if his nation suffers attacks with long-range Western weapons, it may deliver weapons of the same class to parties that could use them against Western military assets. This path could lead to very dangerous outcomes, he added.

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