Washington "not encouraging" Ukrainian strikes in Russia

Washington "not encouraging" Ukrainian strikes in Russia
Credit: Belga / Benoit Doppagne

The United States said on Tuesday it “is not encouraging” Ukraine to launch strikes in Russia, after drone attacks believed to be from Kyiv on several Russian air bases.

"We are not enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders; we are not encouraging Ukraine to strike beyond its borders," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

"Everything we do, everything the world does to support Ukraine, is in support of Ukraine's independence," he said. However, he stopped short of attributing the recent drone strikes to Kiev, which has not claimed responsibility for them.

Russia has reported three deaths and two damaged aircraft in one of the attacks, which targeted bases on its territory.

Experts believe Ukraine may have penetrated Russian airspace with Soviet-era drones and not with billions of dollars in military aid received from Western powers since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.

No comment on modified HIMARS

“We are providing Ukraine with what it needs to use on its sovereign territory -- on Ukrainian soil -- to take on Russian aggressors," Price said.

He declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that the US had modified HIMARS, very powerful, sophisticated artillery systems intended for Ukraine, to prevent them from being used to attack Russia.

President Joe Biden has said publicly that he does not encourage Ukraine to acquire long-range missiles, fearing an escalation that could lead to the US taking a more direct role against Russia.

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