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Biden gives Ukraine go-ahead to hit Russia with US weapons

President Biden has quietly given Ukraine permission to strike Russian territory with US weapons in specific areas, according to a report.

Two United States officials and two other people familiar with the matter said Ukraine would be permitted to use US-supplied weapons in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, where Russia launched a new offensive this month.

“The President recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use US weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them,” a US official told Politico, adding that the policy of allowing long-range strikes inside Russia had “not changed”.

The move marks a major policy reversal after other countries including the Lord Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, said that Ukraine had permission to use their weapons against Russian targets.

It means Kyiv can use American weapons to shoot down incoming Russian missiles and bombers, and at Russian forces massing over the border

The US official added that Ukraine had requested the policy change only after Russia launched its offensive on Kharkiv this month.

A second official said the decision was made to give Ukraine “flexibility” to defend itself from attacks on the border.

However, Ukraine will not be allowed to use long-range missiles, such as the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), to hit military targets deep inside Russia, or to strike civilian targets.

President Volodymyr Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials have complained that Russia is launching attacks from within its territory using assets that Ukrainian forces are unable to target.

The Biden administration has been reulctant to greenlight use of American weapons against Russia, over fears that it could escalate the war, with Russia recently escalating its threats against Western governments.

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