Pentagon 'green lights' Ukrainian strikes on Russia: The Times
British daily The Times writes that the Pentagon not only implicitly allowed Ukraine to drone-strike Russian land, but there are also rising prospects that the US will provide long-range weapons to Kiev.
The Pentagon has given, though implicitly, endorsement for long-range Ukrainian attacks on targets inside Russia. This poses a significant development for further aggression since the war in Ukraine began in late February amid excessive military support from Washington to Kiev.
Revising its policy toward the Ukraine war, new judgments regarding arms shipments and military confrontation have come up recently - particularly between Russia and NATO.
With its new assessment, the US is now likelier to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons.
“We’re still using the same escalatory calculations but the fear of escalation has changed since the beginning,” a US defense source told The Times. “It’s different now. This is because the calculus of war has changed as a result of the suffering and brutality the Ukrainians are being subjected to by the Russians.”
Washington, with this revelation, presents itself as less concerned about whether strikes on Russian territory would escalate the war dramatically. The US seemed to worry that Russia would retaliate with tactical nuclear weapons, according to The Times.
Read next: Pentagon: Russia made no decisions to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine
Drones used in attacks inside Russia, Kiev not claiming responsibility
However, the US does not want to make public that it gave Ukraine 'the okay' to launch attacks on Russian soil. “We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
A US defense source said, “We’re not saying to Kyiv, ‘Don’t strike the Russians [in Russia or Crimea]’. We can’t tell them what to do. It’s up to them how they use their weapons. But when they use the weapons we have supplied, the only thing we insist on is that the Ukrainian military conform to the international laws of war and to the Geneva conventions.
“They are the only limitations, but that includes no targeting of Russian families and no assassinations. As far as we’re concerned, Ukraine has been in compliance.”
Kiev, with this news, is adopting a more aggressive and persistent attack approach toward Russian targets inside Russia. Ukraine has been cautious about using US-supplied weapons to carry out strikes.
TU-141 drones were deployed this week in three raids against military bases about 500 km into the Russian border, in addition to fuel tanks 128 km across the Ukrainian border. These drones can fly at low altitude at a speed of 1000 km/h.
The US refused to comment, at least publicly, about the attacks, whereas Ukraine refused to claim responsibility.
“Nothing is off the table,” a senior US defense official said, regarding if the US were to supply Ukraine with rockets and fighter bombers.
Read next: EU to increase weapons fund used for Ukraine by €2 bn: Bloomberg