Ukraine Claims Successful Strike Inside Russian Territory with Western Weapon

Ukraine Claims Successful Strike

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Kyiv, Ukraine, June 4: Ukrainian forces have announced a significant victory, targeting a Russian S-300 missile system within Russian territory using Western-supplied weaponry, as reported by CNN. Government minister Iryna Vereshchuk shared the news on Facebook, accompanied by an image purportedly showing the aftermath of the strike. “It burns beautifully. It’s a Russian S-300. On Russian territory. The first days after permission to use Western weapons on enemy territory,” her post read, underscoring the gravity of the achievement.

This development follows US President Joe Biden’s recent authorization for Ukraine to conduct limited strikes with US armaments in Russian territory surrounding Kharkiv. This authorization came after several European nations lifted restrictions on the use of these weapons. However, the exact origin of the weaponry used in this strike remains unclear, raising questions about whether it was US-supplied.

For months, Ukraine had been appealing to Washington for permission to target Russian soil with US weaponry. This plea was in response to Moscow’s relentless attacks on Kharkiv, where Russian forces exploited their ability to retreat into their own territory, safe from Western retaliation.

The US approval, while groundbreaking, comes with stringent conditions. Ukraine is restricted to targeting areas around Kharkiv and is not allowed to deploy long-range ATACMS missiles into Russian territory. Instead, Ukraine is limited to using shorter-range GMLRS missiles, which have a range of approximately 70 kilometers.

Military experts have praised the decision but remain cautious about its impact. Franz-Stefan Gady of the International Institute for Strategic Studies noted that GMLRS strikes would complicate Russian military operations around Kharkiv but wouldn’t stop them entirely. Similarly, Mathieu Boulegue from Chatham House described the policy change as an enhancement rather than a game-changer, likening it to an additional tool for Ukraine’s defense.

This development marks a significant shift in the conflict, though Ukraine has previously conducted strikes with Western weapons on territories claimed by Russia. Notably, Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, has been a frequent target, with Ukraine using “Storm Shadow” missiles provided by the UK. Additionally, in late 2022, Ukrainian strikes targeted Kharkiv and Kherson to reclaim regions occupied by Russia in the war’s early stages. Throughout these actions, Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have issued nuclear threats to deter Western support.

The decision by the US and several European allies to remove restrictions on Ukrainian weapon use highlights a unified stance in supporting Ukraine’s defense. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed Biden’s authorization as a pivotal advancement in strengthening the defenses of the besieged Kharkiv region.

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