US, allies warn against using NATO weapons inside Russia

US, allies warn against using NATO weapons inside Russia

If Kiev uses NATO weapons to strike inside Russia, it could cause a conflict in the alliance and escalate the conflict.

According to an exclusive report by Reuters on Thursday, the US and its allies have communicated to Ukraine the danger of escalation if the weapons provided by the West are used to attack targets inside Russia. Kiev was not explicitly banned from doing so by Washington.

The agency s sources said that the highly sensitive, behind-the-scene discussions have tried to reach a shared understanding of the risk of escalation.

One of three US officials who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity said they were concerned about escalation and yet still don't want to put geographic limits or tie their hands too much with the stuff we're giving them.

There wasn't clear what their relationship might be with these discussions, as only two officials were quoted by name. Douglas Lute, a retired US Army lieutenant-general and Washington's former ambassador to NATO, said if Ukrainian troops struck deep inside Russia it would spark a divisive debate inside the alliance. Of course, the alliance doesn't want that. Ukraine does not. The Biden administration is considering providing Ukraine with multiple rocket launchers, such as the M 142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS, which could theoretically be used to strike deep into Russian territory.

One Ukrainian official begging for HIMARS was found on Twitter less than an hour after the story was published.

Anton Geraschenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that we need M 270 MLRS or M 142 HIMARS to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers. The USA has 2,000 MLRS in the army and in warehouses. If they give us just 200 of them, we will stop the Russian attack on Donbass and throw them outside Ukraine! He added.

Geraschenko echoed the sentiments of Congressman Jason Crow D-Colorado, who met with the Ukrainian leadership over the past month. Crow, a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, said the US had told Kiev that its weapons should be used responsibly, but he said he was less concerned about the issue of escalation than making sure Ukrainians can win and push back Russian forces. Ukrainian forces retreated from the key town of Liman in northern Donbass, bringing the Russian troops closer to Slavyansk. Russian troops approached the major supply hub of Bakhmut while fighting continued in the Severodonetsk and Lisichansk salient.

Ukraine artillery has killed several villages on the Russian side of the border over the past month, killing civilians. Kiev hasn't admitted responsibility for the attacks. In early April, when two helicopters attacked a fuel depot in the Belgorod region, Ukrainian officials claimed credit, but disavowed all knowledge of the operation.

The reports of US escalation contradicted with previous public comments made by the US and other NATO officials. On April 27, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the Senate that it was up to Ukraine to decide whether or not to attack Russia. The day before, British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said it was completely legit for Ukraine to be targeting Russia's depth, prompting Moscow to warn that such an action would immediately lead to our proportional response. The Ukrainians are backed into such a corner, and we haven't seen that yet, and Reuters chose to end their article with a quote from an anonymous US official who warned that there could be scenarios where the Ukrainians are backed into such a corner.