Biden admin declares Ukraine can hit Russia's interior 'anywhere' along border where Russian attacks take place

US officials have confirmed that the government has given Ukraine the green light to use American weapons to strike Russian forces attacking from across the border, extending beyond the initial approval for actions near Kharkiv. 

The announcement comes after a US-sanctioned Ukrainian strike within Russian borders in response to an attack on Kharkiv, when Ukrainian forces used American-supplied weapons to target and destroy sites in the Russian city of Belgorod. 

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explained on Tuesday that the agreement allows Ukraine to counter any Russian forces crossing the border to attack Ukrainian territory. Sullivan emphasized that this approval includes “anywhere that Russian forces are coming across the border from the Russian side to the Ukrainian side to try to take additional Ukrainian territory.” 

Sullivan added that if Russia attacked the northeastern city of Sumy, then Ukraine would have approval from the US to use weapons there as well. 

“This is not about geography. It’s about common sense. If Russia is attacking or about to attack from its territory into Ukraine, it only makes sense to allow Ukraine to hit back against the forces that are hitting it from across the border,” Sullivan said. 

Despite the change in rhetoric from the US government, officials have insisted that this does not represent a shift in policy. Two anonymous US officials told Politico that allowing Ukraine to strike back inside Russia in response to cross-border attacks has been an implicit part of the Kharkiv decision. One official noted that the policy never excluded the possibility to cover any cross-border assaults. 

However, Sullivan's comments are more explicit compared to previous statements from US officials. In May, a senior US official indicated that President Biden had directed his team to ensure Ukraine could use American weapons for counter-fire purposes specifically in Kharkiv. 

Despite this broader approval, US officials stressed that their policy against permitting long-range attacks inside Russia remains unchanged. 

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