US considering providing Ukraine with weapons to hit Crimea: Reports
The Biden administration considers the argument that Kiev needs the power to strike at Crimea.
The Biden administration is mulling providing Ukraine with the weapons necessary to target the Crimean Peninsula, which is instrumental for Russia's operations during the war in Ukraine, the New York Times reported.
The administration believes that threatening Russia's control of Crimea could improve Kiev's position in future negotiations. However, this may increase the risk of escalating the conflict, the report said on Wednesday.
According to the report, Ukrainian officials and their US counterparts are discussing the use of US-supplied weapons, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and Bradley fighting vehicles to cover targets like the mainland bridge that connects Crimea with the rest of Russia.
It is noteworthy that the Biden administration has so far been unwilling to provide Ukraine with the long-range missiles that Kiev would need to attack Crimea, out of fear that such a move could provoke Russia and widen the conflict, according to the report.
Read next: Russian committee confirms Ukraine involvement in Crimea bridge attack
In December 2022, two United States officials and a senior administration official revealed that Pentagon is finalizing plans to send the Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine, CNN reported.
The plan needs to be approved by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before it is sent to President Joe Biden for his signature, with the three officials telling CNN that approval is expected.
It is worth mentioning that Ukraine has called on Washington to send the highly effective at intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles.
On another note, the Head of the Russian Delegation to the Negotiations on Military Security and Arms Control in Vienna, Konstantin Gavrilov, told the Rossiya-24 TV channel in June 2022 that Russia will respond immediately in the event that it is attacked with long-range weapon systems.
"We particularly put the spotlight on the delivery [to Ukraine] of long-range howitzers and HIMARS MLRS that threaten not only Donbass but Russia as well. We have clearly laid out Russia’s stance: if the Russian Federation is attacked with these long-range systems, the response against the decision-making centers will be immediate," he said, adding, "I think, this is happening not without the involvement of Ukraine’s military and political leadership. I am not ruling out anything anymore," Gavrilov stressed.
According to the diplomat, Ukraine said it wouldn't use the HIMARS system to strike Russia, but these promises are "not worth a red cent."