Ukraine can now use Western weapons to attack inside Russia | Russia-Ukraine War News

Kyiv, Ukraine – Denys, a soldier in kyiv on leave from Ukraine’s eastern front, is outraged by the time it takes for each round of Western arms supplies to reach the country.

“There is always a ‘no’ first: no tanks. No missiles. No fighter jets,” he told Al Jazeera, referring on multiple occasions to Western allies having refused to provide certain types of weapons to Ukraine or strictly regulating their use. Denys concealed his last name and the location of his military unit in accordance with wartime regulations.

“And every ‘no’ costs lives. Not just ours. We are big kids, we have seen a little of life, but that of children, little children burned alive or blown to pieces…” said the 27-year-old, about to scream, while standing between a flowering lime tree. and an ice cream kiosk in the center of kyiv. “And then there’s ‘maybe, maybe,’ which lasts for months, and then there’s ‘yes,’ but it’s always too late.”

In the end, Western nations agreed to supply tanks, missiles and fighter jets, but after agonizingly long deliberations that cost lives, he said.

The latest “yes” from the United States and nearly a dozen Western nations following Russia’s recent advance and relentless bombing of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, gives them permission to use the advanced weaponry they have supplied – or that They will supply soon. attack inside Russia.

Washington and its allies have feared antagonizing Russia, whose President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly suggested that the use of nuclear weapons is on the table in case Ukraine or the West cross another “red line” such as the bombing of Crimea and Russia’s pet project. Putin, a bridge that unites him with continental Russia.

But Ukraine has already crossed many military and political Rubicons, including the expulsion of Russian troops from occupied zones and drone attacks on airfields, military bases, ports and oil depots deep inside Russia. These acts have angered Moscow, but not enough to use nuclear weapons.

The latest Western “yes,” which came on Thursday after months of pleas from kyiv, is more of a “yes, but.”

The White House said kyiv may begin using U.S.-supplied weapons for “limited strikes” inside Russia, but only in areas adjacent to the northeastern Kharkiv region, which lies along the Russian border.

Russian forces seized the region and its administrative capital of the same name in early 2022, but were expelled months later following a maneuver masterminded by Ukraine’s current top general, Oleksandr Syrskii.

Moscow resumed its attempts to seize Kharkiv in early May, seizing several border villages next to the Belgorod region in western Russia. The existing artillery in the area allowed the troops to advance towards Ukrainian objectives and then withdraw to Russian soil, where they knew they would be safe from the Ukrainian defense forces.

The latest “yes, but” from the White House applies to air defense systems, artillery and guided rockets. There is still a ban on long-range missile attacks.

Other Western weapons that can now be used to attack Russia include 24 Dutch F-16 fighter jets armed with long-range missiles and Soviet-era aircraft supplied by Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and North Macedonia, countries that also granted their permits. in recent years. days.

Ukrainian pilots will soon complete their months-long training to fly F-16s and will be able to fly their first sorties within weeks. Until now, its missions should have been limited to Ukrainian airspace. Not anymore.

The planes, along with a handful of Soviet aircraft from Ukraine, will be free to launch French-made air-launched cruise missiles known as Systeme de Croisiere Autonome a Longue Portee (SCALP) EG missiles.

The UK has not yet given permission to use the SCALP’s almost identical twin missile, Storm Shadow, but has already authorized the use of its attack drones on Russian soil. Türkiye has also allowed Ukraine to use its Bayraktar drones there.

A SCALP-EG/Storm Shadow, which is a long-range, low-visibility air-launched cruise missile, on display at the 2023 Paris International Air Show (Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Norway have already supplied Ukraine with ground-based launchers for HIMARS and ATACMS missiles that initially proved effective in attacks against annexed Crimea and occupied Ukrainian regions.

But in recent weeks Russia has begun using advanced electronic jamming systems to render these satellite-guided missiles – along with GPS-guided Excalibur artillery shells – ineffective.

“They (the Russians) made a lot of progress,” said Lt. Gen. Ihor Romanenko, former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “We are taking it seriously. We have to create our own means to suppress their electronic interference and create our own jamming systems,” he told Al Jazeera.

But Western permission will hardly be a game-changer.

“The tables will not be turned. In the coming months, we will talk about containing Russia,” kyiv-based analyst Igar Tyshkevych told Al Jazeera.

The permission follows Western attempts to “find compromises with Russia,” he said. “This is slowly changing because Russia is showing its true colors: an empire trying to carry out policies according to the patterns of the 19th century.”

The decision follows “constant and barbaric shelling” of Kharkiv and other border towns and Russia’s plans to launch an offensive in northern Ukraine, at the forested junction of the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, said Nikolay Mitrokhin, a researcher from the German University of Bremen.

The offensive against Kharkiv may begin just weeks after the deployment of tens of thousands of newly recruited and trained Russian military personnel.

“Ukrainian forces do not have enough resources to cover the border and will have to attack from forests quite far from the border,” Mitrokhin told Al Jazeera.

Ukraine faces a serious shortage of new military personnel. For months, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government postponed mobilization for fear of a public outcry, and did not allow seasoned and battle-weary veterans to demobilize. The troop shortage coincided with a depletion of weapons and ammunition after months of delays in Western supplies.

In recent weeks, recruiting teams and police have been detaining thousands of men in public places, from subway stations to traffic jams.

“There is hope that Ukraine will manage to destroy Russian columns at the march stage and artillery with multiple launch rocket systems at the stage of their deployment,” Mitrokhin said.

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