Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the start of this week that it was up to Ukraine whether or not to target Russian territory with US-provided weapons, a policy that brings the US and Russia closer to a direct clash.
Blinken made the comments after ABC News reported that it’s likely the Biden administration will soon arm Ukraine with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which have a range of up to 190 miles.
While appearing on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ Blinken was asked if he was OK with Ukraine using ATACMS to hit targets deep inside Russian territory.
Here was the Secretary of State's response:
"In terms of their targeting decisions, it’s their decision, not ours," Blinken replied.
When asked about the increasing Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russia, Blinken claimed the US does not "encourage" or "enable" the operations. However, The Economist recently reported that Ukrainian drone attacks on Russia frequently use intelligence gathered by Kyiv’s Western backers.
ABC reviewed: "With a range of up to 190 miles, depending on the version, deploying ATACMS could allow Ukraine to reach targets nearly four times further away than with the currently-provided rockets for its U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and M270 multiple-launch rocket systems."
As the war has dragged on, the Biden administration has been less and less concerned about the risk of Ukrainian attacks inside Russia escalating the war. The administration previously feared that Russia could respond to such attacks by targeting a NATO country.
America is playing a dangerous game called where is Russia’s redline? https://t.co/Inf3QRKQk5— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) September 11, 2023
The US has also brushed off Russian warnings against providing Ukraine with longer-range missiles, as Moscow has previously called them a “red line.” According to a US official speaking to ABC, the ATACMS "are coming."