Blinken hints that the United States could accept Ukrainian attacks on Russia with American weapons

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken suggested Wednesday that the Biden administration could be open to tolerating attacks by the Ukrainian military inside Russia, saying the United States would “adapt and adjust” its posture based on changing conditions on the battlefield. .

Blinken said the United States had not encouraged or allowed such attacks. But he said Ukrainians needed to make their own decisions about how best to defend themselves – a position he had stated before – and that the US government had “adapted and adjusted as necessary” as the war evolved.

When asked by a reporter if his words meant that the United States could support Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, he said: “Adapt and adjust means exactly that.”

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Washington has sent military aid to the Ukrainians but has repeatedly asked them not to fire US-made weapons at Russian territory for fear of an escalation of the war.

Several European leaders have called on President Biden to stop imposing such limits, including Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Emmanuel Macron, president of France.

Blinken made his comments in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, alongside Maia Sandu, the nation’s president, who is expected to face a pro-Russian candidate when he runs for re-election in October. The two spoke to reporters after an afternoon meeting at the presidential offices.

“Our neighbors, our friends in Ukraine, pay an outrageous price every day,” Sandu said.

Blinken announced new aid to Moldova to address a number of issues arising from Russian aggression, including its invasion of Ukraine.

The first of the two packages mentioned. It was $50 million in broad support for Moldova’s industry and government, as well as democratic processes. Blinken mentioned the energy and agricultural sectors and the need to combat misinformation.

“What is so powerful here is the deep and deep-rooted commitment to democracy in the face of Russian intimidation,” Blinken said.

Sandu thanked Blinken for American help fighting corruption, building renewable energy infrastructure and addressing the “adversities of democracy,” a nod to Russian election interference.

The second aid package mentioned was $85 million to help Moldova increase its energy resilience and reduce its dependence on electricity generated in a Russian-backed eastern separatist region, Transnistria. This support would help Moldova strengthen its battery storage capabilities and high-voltage transmission lines, among other energy needs, Blinken said.

Moldova recently stopped relying on natural gas imports from Russia and now buys gas from several countries, including the United States.

Blinken’s visit to Chisinau was the first stop on a trip aimed at showing US support for nations facing a hostile Russia. Blinken will next go to the Czech Republic, where he plans to attend a meeting of foreign ministers and senior NATO officials on Thursday and Friday. They plan to discuss how to better support Ukraine.

This trip follows Mr. Blinken’s overnight visit to kyiv more than two weeks ago.

Ms Sandu has advocated for Moldova to join the European Union and has scheduled a referendum on the issue for the same day as the October presidential election.

American and European analysts say Moscow is likely to try to interfere in the elections, as it has done elsewhere in Europe. The Biden administration has spoken publicly of Russian agents carrying out such interference using different means, from hacking to orchestrating social media campaigns and doling out money to favored politicians.

About 1,500 Russian soldiers are in Transnistria, which borders Ukraine. U.S. officials are watching for any signs that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia may try to annex the territory.

The NATO session in the Czech Republic is officially aimed at finalizing the agenda for the 80th anniversary meeting of the alliance’s leaders in Washington in July. The group is not expected to declare that Ukraine will now join NATO, an aspiration Zelensky has reiterated following the Russian invasion. However, they are expected to work out the details for Ukraine to move forward in the accession process.

As Russian troops launch an offensive on Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, the Ukrainian war effort has been declining, largely due to a shortage of weapons and ammunition. There are also fewer citizens able to join the fight.

Biden recently signed a bill passed by Congress, despite some Republican opposition, providing new military aid to Ukraine.

Russia is producing munitions at a rapid pace and US-led sanctions have failed to cripple its military industrial capabilities. Biden and his aides say China has played a decisive role in strengthening Russia through exports of dual-use equipment and other goods that have allowed it to strengthen weapons production. Blinken is expected to highlight China’s support for Russia in his discussions at the NATO meeting in Prague.

Leave a Comment