Joe Biden partially lifts ban on Ukraine using US weapons in strikes on Russian territory

President Joe Biden has partially lifted a ban on Ukraine using U.S. weapons in strikes on Russian territory, according to U.S. officials.

According to some reports, the change in US policy would only apply to the defense of the Kharkiv region.

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It comes as Ukrainian officials have stepped up calls for the US administration to allow its forces to defend against Russian attacks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and others have increasingly insisted that the restrictions put Ukrainian forces in an untenable situation as Russia steps up its attacks around the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Russia has made progress in the region despite a long delay in replenishing U.S. military aid and as Western Europe's insufficient military production has slowed crucial deliveries to the battlefield in Ukraine.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, is just 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Russian border.

But U.S. officials stressed that U.S. policy calling on Ukraine not to use long-range missiles and other U.S. munitions to strike offensively inside Russia has not changed.

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Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, had already hinted at a policy change at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague on Thursday.

There, he declared that Moscow's use of misinformation and disinformation was “poison” and signed an agreement with the Czech government to combat this phenomenon.

Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, Biden has remained strongly opposed to Ukraine's offensive use of American-made weapons, fearing that the action could be seen as a provocation and lead Moscow to expand the war .

But calls for policy change are growing.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Western countries should not object if Ukraine were to strike inside Russia to defend itself.

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