US-Ukraine divide widens: UnHerd
US officials are alarmed with the recent Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil.
This week, a White House spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged that the US is investigating reports of US-made Humvees and mine-resistant vehicles that have been reportedly used in a recent assault on the Russian region of Belgorod, as stated in a report by UnHerd on Friday. The report adds that both were supplied by the US and Ukraine last year, but the US administration was quick to step out of the picture.
According to a statement by US officials to NBC News, Washington has not authorized Ukraine to supply other forces with the weapons and Ukraine did not request the right, UnHerd stated, adding that the US State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller stressed that “we have made very clear to the Ukrainians that we don’t enable or encourage attacks outside [their] borders”.
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That said, Ukraine's only challenge equal to waging war against its enemy on the battlefield is managing tensions with its allies. The Belgorod region came under attack in one of the largest cross-border raids into Russia during the war, as reported by UnHerd. Moreover, the report adds that two pro-Ukraine and anti-Kremlin Russian groups, the Russian Volunteers Corps (RDK) and the Liberty of Russia Legion (FRL), have claimed responsibility.
In a tweet, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak claimed that his nation had "nothing to do with it" and that an "armed guerrilla movement" was opposing a "totalitarian country" and the Russian Defense Ministry blamed Kiev, claiming to have killed over 70 "Ukrainian terrorists" in suppressing the assault. The RDK commented that Ukraine had not provided direction, only medicine, petrol, food, and information, according to UnHerd.
Western fear of fueling the war
The US State Department spokesperson's statement is the latest sign of the US unease over Ukraine's attacks on Russian territory. That said, the Russian reaction to Belgorod's attack will only add to the US fear of inflaming the war, with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu's recent vow to have an "extremely harsh" response.
Discovering US equipment in Belgorod is perceived as likely to fuel US and NATO fears of being drawn into a broader war, as reported by UnHerd. Reports suggest Belgorod is just the latest assault on Russian soil. Long-range weapons donated to Ukraine were sent with the provision that they not be used to hit targets in Russia and the Kremlin uses this to support its claim that is being attacked by the West and that Ukraine is only a proxy, as reported by UnHerd.
US government sources also told the New York Times that the Ukrainians may have been responsible for other attacks on Russian border towns and the assassinations of Russian Vladlen Tatarsky and Darya Dugina, the daughter of Alexander Dugin. Moreover, other US intelligence reports note that, in February, Zelensky proposed using unmanned aerial vehicles to hit Russian deployment locations in Rostov, despite American discouragement of cross-border attacks.
Lack of Oversight in Ukraine
There is a US concern over the lack of oversight within the Ukrainian system, with officials warning that some Ukrainian covert operatives work without the direct supervision or even knowledge of the Kiev administration, reported UnHerd. Yet they are still able to organize operations in Russia, often through partners working under their direction.
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When Russia launched its military operation, US President Joe Biden informed Zelensky that the US would "support the Ukrainian people in defending their country." However, voids are appearing in the alliance's relationship with its most ardent supporter, states UnHerd.