Ukraine uses US weapons to strike Russia, Western senator and official say

WASHINGTON — Ukraine has used U.S. weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a U.S. senator and a Western official familiar with the matter.

These weapons were used under President Joe Biden's recently approved direction authorizing the use of U.S. weapons to strike inside Russia for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the sensitive issue and spoke on condition of anonymity. Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmed the strikes with U.S. weapons but did not say how he was informed.

Biden's directive authorizes the use of U.S.-supplied weapons to strike Russian forces that are attacking or preparing to attack. This does not change U.S. policy directing Ukraine not to use U.S.-supplied ATACMS, long-range missiles, and other munitions to carry out offensive strikes inside Russia , American officials said.

Ukrainian officials have increased calls for the United States to allow Kiev forces to defend against attacks from Russian territory. Kharkiv is just 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Russian border and is the subject of intensified Russian attacks.

By advancing into the region northeast of Kharkiv, Russian forces exploited a long delay in replenishing U.S. military aid. Additionally, Western Europe's insufficient military production has slowed crucial deliveries to Ukraine on the battlefield.

On Tuesday, White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters he could not confirm that Ukraine had used U.S. weapons on targets in Russia.

“We're just not able, on a day-to-day basis, to know exactly what the Ukrainians are shooting at and what,” Kirby said. “It’s certainly at the tactical level.”

According to a June 3 report from the Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian forces struck a Russian S-300/400 air defense battery in the Belgorod region, likely with the artillery rocket system at high mobility, or HIMARS, on June 1 or 2. The air defense system was located approximately 60 kilometers (about 40 miles) from the current front line in the northern Kharkiv region and more than 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city of Kharkiv, which is within range of the HIMARS, the institute reported. .

The confirmation of the strikes comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Qatar, which, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has been a key mediator in prisoner exchanges and other negotiations between the Russia and Ukraine since the start of the war.

Rounds said he agreed with Biden's decision to authorize the use of U.S. weapons for strikes against Russia in limited circumstances.

“I have no problem with Ukraine using ATACMS, etc., and all the artillery we have to be able to take them out before they cause more damage in Ukraine,” he said. -he declares.


Associated Press writers Tara Copp and Stephen Groves contributed to this report.

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