In apparent response to Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council’s head Aleksey Danilov, who claimed on Saturday that Kyiv does not rule out strikes inside Russia, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby noted on Sunday that Washington has not explicitly encouraged Ukraine to hit targets in Russia.
Answering ABC’s Martha Raddatz’s question if he thinks Ukraine’s drones should be striking deep inside Russia, Kirby pointed out that he’d let the Ukrainian Armed Forces speak for their operations, clarifying later that the United States is certainly not encouraging or enabling Kyiv’s operations inside Russia.
Washington is, however, trying to make sure Ukrainians can defend their territory and win back their ground in Ukraine, as Kirby explained, while being mindful of the risks of escalation of the war which wouldn’t be good for anyone’s interests, including America’s.
He mentioned in that context the military aid supplied by the Biden administration to Kyiv which amounted to approximately $20 billion since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The latest $275 million package, as Kirby noted, includes missiles for the HIMARS, artillery shells as well as air defense components, and other armaments despite Moscow’s warnings that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reiterated saying that Washington can potentially be considered a direct party to the conflict if it crosses the “red line” by providing Kyiv with long-range weapons to attack Russia.
Earlier on Friday, US State Secretary Antony Blinken insisted that Washington has never encouraged or enabled Kyiv to strike targets inside Russia. His comments came after two Russian airbases situated hundreds of kilometers from the Ukrainian border were attacked by Ukraine earlier this month.
According to the Times’s report on Friday, however, Kyiv already has Pentagon’s tacit endorsement with regard to Ukraine’s long-range attacks on targets inside Russia whereas Washington struggles not to be seen publicly giving the green light for such attacks.
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