Why Joe Biden wouldn’t let the Ukrainians strike Russia


The U.S. has allowed Ukraine to use American weapons to strike into Russia, but with limits—Kyiv cannot turn its Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles to look across the border.
But long-range strikes, including the U.S.’s ground-launched ATACMS missiles, are still off-limits.
“The priority is escalation management,” he told Newsweek, saying he wholeheartedly supports allowing Ukraine to strike key Russian targets with ATACMS.
But withholding approval for Ukraine to fire ATACMS into Russia is averting a possible nuclear crisis, argued Daniel Rice, a former adviser to Ukraine’s military and current president of American University Kyiv.
In late April, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden had authorized sending a “significant number of ATACMS missiles” to Ukraine in February.
Long-range capabilities, whether it be ATACMS, British- and French-provided air launched missiles or the German Taurus—which Berlin has not provided to Kyiv—would help Ukraine strike Russian logistics, headquarters and key artillery, Hodges said.
Several leading NATO nations, including France and Germany, signaled their permission for Ukraine to use weapons they provide to strike inside Russia last week.
“But shouldn’t allow them to hit other targets in Russia and civilian or other military sites in Russia,” Macron added.


The USA. s. imposed restrictions on Ukraine’s ability to use American weapons to attack Russia, such as the inability to aim its Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles across the border.

On Russian territory, President Joe Biden authorized Ukrainian strikes with some U.S. s. -contributed arms to support Kyiv in repelling Moscow’s protracted assault into the northeastern Kharkiv region, U.S. s. said last week by officials.

You. S. A visit to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, on Friday saw Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating that Ukraine had been asking for permission to use U. s. -supplied arms against Russian forces following Moscow’s opening of the new front in Kharkiv.

Speaking about Washington’s dramatic change in policy, Blinken stated that the U.S. S. had “time and again” adjusted, he continued, saying, “We’ve adjusted, we’ve given Ukraine the systems, the weapons it needs. “.

Long-range attacks, however, such as the U. s. remains inaccessible for its ground-based ATACMS missiles. To some, that makes sense. Others believe it is impeding Ukraine just when they need it most.

Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. military forces, claimed that the action demonstrates a “excessive fear” in Washington that Russia would somehow escalate the conflict. s. European Army. “The top priority is escalation management,” he declared to Newsweek, adding that he is fully in favor of enabling Ukraine to use ATACMS to strike important Russian targets.

In an open letter last week, a number of Republican lawmakers, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, criticized the Biden administration’s choice, stating that “Ukraine must be allowed to use U.S. military force in order to win this war of self-defense against Russia’s aggression.”. s. —not just along the border close to Kharkiv—provided armaments against any lawful military targets in Russia. “.

To obtain a response, Newsweek reached out to the White House.

Yet, Daniel Rice, the president of American University Kyiv and a former military advisor to Ukraine, claimed that by refusing to give permission for Ukraine to launch ATACMS into Russia, a potential nuclear crisis is being avoided.

Nuclear weapons are not in the possession of Ukraine. However, with U. S. -made ballistic missiles aimed toward Russia, “anything can happen,” Rice declared. He told Newsweek that it is imperative that artillery fired into Russia not be mistaken for a nuclear attack, especially since Ukraine has been targeting Russian radars meant to identify nuclear strikes.

The director of military sciences at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank, Matthew Savill, asserted that although ATACMS missiles are tactical ballistic missiles, they are significantly smaller than ballistic missiles carrying nuclear weapons, and that Russia is aware that Ukraine does not possess such weapons.

An efficient instrument.

In the upcoming weeks, Ukraine is likely to be ready for another round of Russian attacks aimed at overstretching its resources in the north while embroiled in bitter conflicts in the east. It is unclear, however, if long-range strike capabilities will be discussed.

As Russian forces prepare to launch an offensive into the northeast, Ukraine can now use shorter-range rockets fired by High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to reach a certain distance into Russian territory, hitting some of Moscow’s support bases, according to Savill of Newsweek.

However, he added, sanctioned use of ATACMS would give Ukraine access to air bases for fighter-bombers and helicopters that are outside the HIMARS radar range in a number of southern Russian regions, including Voronezh.

Since fall2023, Ukraine has received multiple waves of ATACMS, providing Kyiv’s forces with the firepower to target valuable Russian assets located well behind the front lines—not to be confused with the border. Longer-range versions were approved earlier this year, and Ukraine debuted cluster-variant ATACMS in October.

Presidential authorization for the dispatch of a “significant number of ATACMS missiles” to Ukraine was reported by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in late April.

ATACMS showed to be a useful tool right away. Open-source analysts, as well as Russian and Ukrainian sources, have linked ATACMS to a series of destructive Ukrainian attacks on Moscow’s facilities in the Crimean Peninsula and the Russian-controlled portion of mainland Ukraine.

According to Hodges, Ukraine would be able to strike Russian logistics, headquarters, and critical artillery with the aid of long-range capabilities, such as the German Taurus, which Berlin has not given to Kyiv, ATACMS, and air-launched missiles from the UK and France. He contended that while a single kind of weapon won’t change the game, it will give Kyiv an advantage.

The Tone Has Shifted.

But Western allies of Ukraine are anxious to prevent the conflict from getting worse, so striking inside Russia has long been a sensitive topic. Generally speaking, Kyiv has avoided taking official credit for drone strikes that occur inside Russia, such as on strategic air bases from which Ukraine is attacked.

The atmosphere has shifted, though. In an interview that was published by The Guardian on Friday, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, stated that it was “completely nonsensical” for Ukraine to possess Western weapons and to “see the murderers, terrorists, who are killing us from the Russian side.”. “.

He went on, “I think sometimes they are just laughing at this situation.”.

Last week, a number of prominent NATO members, such as France and Germany, indicated that they were okay with Ukraine using the weapons they supply to launch strikes inside of Russia. Paris and Berlin agreed that Ukraine should be permitted to target missile launch sites into Ukraine, according to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a joint news conference.

Macron continued, “But we shouldn’t let them hit other Russian targets, civilian areas, or other military locations.”.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said that “continuous escalation can lead to serious consequences” in response to the NATO declarations. ****.

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