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

On the second day, yesterday, of his visit to Kyiv, the US Secretary of State answered the millionth question during a press conference with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitró Kuleba.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 May 2024 Wednesday 23:13
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Blinken says the US does not encourage attacks on Russia, but Ukraine will decide

On the second day, yesterday, of his visit to Kyiv, the US Secretary of State answered the millionth question during a press conference with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmitró Kuleba. In a particularly difficult, almost critical situation in Kharkiv province due to the new Russian offensive, he was asked if the ban on Ukraine attacking Russian territory with 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 this is confirmed - and that is why a group of Ukrainian parliamentarians is in Washington to convince the congressmen - it would mean a big turn in the future of this war.

It is understood – or so some analysts have expressed it – that the US veto on the use of its tactical missile systems against Russian territory would have prevented the Ukrainians from attacking concentrations of Russian troops across the border. So, for the new Russian incursion in the province of Kharkiv, around 30,000 soldiers would have been mobilized, and many say that Kyiv was bound by Washington's restriction.

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 two billion dollars.

But, in addition, the signing of a bilateral security agreement remains for the next few weeks. Aside from the weapons that the US supplies to Ukraine, this agreement could shield the aforementioned 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 President Volodymyr Zelensky was supposed to bring to Spain last Friday. After a meeting with Pedro Sánchez and a lunch with King Felipe VI, Zelenski planned to go to Portugal, a country with which the same type of agreement is being completed. This is a formula – bilateral pacts for defense assistance – launched by the members of the G-7 at the NATO summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) in the summer. Thirty countries joined and nine have already signed.

Zelenski's office announced that the president's participation in international events in the coming days is being postponed, and has not announced new dates. All attention is on Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, where a number of Ukrainian authorities are now concentrated, including the head of military intelligence, Kirilo Budanov, and the commander-in-chief of the army, Oleksandr Sirski.

Budànov assured that the situation was beginning to stabilize in the last few hours, which coincided with the confirmation from the ground of the arrival of reinforcements. Hours earlier, he had also called attention to possible new attacks in the border province of Sumi, 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", Andrí Oleksandrovich, head of the Kúpiansk military administration, explained yesterday. This town, located in the southeast of Kharkiv province, was not only under Russian control during the first months of the invasion until it was liberated in October 2022, but has been the center of Russian attacks in recent months .

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

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