Russia & Former Soviet Union

Kiev blames US for Russian advances – Politico

Ukrainian MPs claim restrictions on the targets that can be hit with Western weapons are giving Moscow an advantage

FILE PHOTO: A US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) firing a missile during a military drill in South Korea. ©  South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images

Ukrainian lawmakers have traveled to Washington, DC in a bid to convince the White House to lift restrictions on how Kiev can use weapons donated by the US, Politico reported on Tuesday.

The delegation is headed by David Arakhamia, who leads the parliamentary faction of President Vladimir Zelensky’s party. He and other MPs have scheduled dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill as part of their lobbying effort.

The US has been supplying arms to Ukraine on the condition that they must not be used against targets located inside what Washington acknowledges as Russian territory. The restriction is intended to demonstrate the supposedly defensive nature of the arms supplies. The Ukrainian MPs claim that the policy has facilitated a Russian offensive, which Moscow launched last Friday in Kharkov Region.

“We saw their military sitting one or two kilometers from the border inside Russia and there was nothing we could do about that,” one of the lawmakers, Aleksandra Ustinova, told the news outlet.

Kharkov Region borders Russia’s Belgorod Region. Kiev has launched multiple attacks inside it using drones, rocket artillery, and short-range missiles. Civilian deaths have been reported on a weekly basis in villages close to Kiev-controlled territory and the regional capital Belgorod.

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In March, militants backed by the Ukrainian military made multiple attempts to seize settlements in several Russian border regions. President Vladimir Putin said at the time that a buffer zone along the border may be necessary to stop Ukrainian attacks.

According to some Ukrainian news reports, Moscow’s initial success in seizing territory in Kharkov Region was partially due to a lack of defenses, which Ukrainian engineers were supposed to construct in the area. Funds appropriated for them have allegedly been embezzled by corrupt officials.

Just last month, Zelensky reported that he had personally inspected the defensive lines near Kharkov. The role of troops in that area was “very important” to demonstrate to the Russia forces that the province is prepared to stand up to them, he added.

US government insiders told Politico that the White House has no intention of lifting the ban. In contrast, US ally Britain has apparently made a policy change regarding its weapons sent to Ukraine.

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British Foreign Secretary David Cameron declared this month that Kiev “has the right” to attack any Russian targets with British weapons. Moscow has warned that it would consider London’s military assets in Ukraine and elsewhere fair game for retaliation, if such a strike were to happen.

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