Blinken says the US does not encourage attacks on Russia but Ukraine will decide

On his second day, yesterday, of his visit to Kyiv, the American Secretary of State answered the million-dollar question during a press conference with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dimitro Kuleba.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 10:28
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Blinken says the US does not encourage attacks on Russia but Ukraine will decide

On his second day, yesterday, of his visit to Kyiv, the American Secretary of State answered the million-dollar question during a press conference with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dimitro Kuleba. In an especially difficult, almost critical situation, in the province of Kharkiv due to the new Russian offensive, he was asked if the ban on Ukraine attacking Russian territory with North American weapons makes sense now, or if the Biden administration is considering relaxing this ban. “We do not encourage or facilitate attacks outside Ukraine – that is, on Russian territory – but ultimately Ukraine decides how to conduct its war because it is defensive.”

If something like this is confirmed – and a group of Ukrainian parliamentarians is in Washington to convince congressmen – it would mean a tremendous turn in the future of this war.

It is understood – or so some analysts have expressed it – that the US veto of the use of its tactical missile systems against Russian territory would have prevented the Ukrainians from attacking concentrations of Russian troops on the other side of the border. Thus, some 30,000 soldiers would have been mobilized for the new Russian incursion into the province of Kharkiv, and many claim that Kyiv was handcuffed by Washington's restrictions.

Days ago, the British Foreign Minister, David Cameron, lifted his country's veto to use its weapons to attack Russian territory during a visit similar to the one carried out by Antony Blinken, who confirmed in Kyiv a new military aid package worth of two billion dollars.

But, in addition, the signing of a bilateral security agreement remains for the coming weeks. Aside from the weapons that the US has been supplying to Ukraine, such an agreement could shield said assistance in the event that a new president reluctant to help Ukraine – that is, Trump – comes to the White House.

It is precisely the signing of a bilateral security agreement that was supposed to bring President Volodymyr Zelensky to Spain tomorrow, Friday. After a meeting with Pedro Sánchez and a lunch with King Felipe VI, Zelensky planned to go to Portugal, a country with which the same type of agreement is being finalized. This is a formula – bilateral pacts for defense assistance – launched by the members of the G-7 during the NATO summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) last summer. Thirty countries joined and nine have already signed.

Zelensky's office announced that the president's participation in international events is postponed in the coming days, without announcing new dates. All attention is focused on Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, where a series of Ukrainian authorities are now concentrated, including the head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, and the commander-in-chief of the army, Oleksandr Syrsky.

Budanov assured that the situation was beginning to stabilize in the last few hours, which coincided with confirmation from the ground of the arrival of reinforcements. Hours earlier he had also drawn attention to new possible attacks in the border province of Sumy, north of Kharkiv.

“They are here to send a message to the province that it is important for Ukraine and that all efforts are aimed at defending it,” explained yesterday Andriy Oleksandrovich, head of the Kupiansk military administration. This town, located southeast of Kharkiv province, was not only under Russian control during the first months of the invasion until its liberation in October 2022, but has been the center of Russian attacks in recent months.

The clashes are a few kilometers from the city, on the other side of the Oskil River, which the Russians are seeking to cross. Oleksandrovich said that a few months ago more than 100,000 Russians had been sent to the area, currently half remain, which is not a few. But he does not believe, contrary to what some analysts have pointed out, that Russia will send the troops that entered the northeast of the province in this direction and starting from Vovchansk, today practically destroyed by the fighting. There are 7,000 people living in Kupiansk, who have refused to be evacuated, including around 250 children.

Yesterday the city of Kharkiv was attacked again as happened on Tuesday, when several residential towers were hit by missiles and guided aerial bombs.