Ukraine Update: Ukraine finally gets what it needs to defend Kharkiv

Ukraine Update: Ukraine finally gets what it needs to defend Kharkiv

The most important thing Ukraine needed to protect its second-largest city wasn’t more missiles, more artillery, or even F-16s. It was permission to use weapons from the United States on targets across the border in Russia.

Ukraine quietly got that permission this week, as President Joe Biden agreed to allow Ukraine to target Russian forces near the northern border where Russia is making its latest push into the Kharkiv district. But officials told The Associated Press that this permission is conditional, as medium- and long-range weapons like ATACMS are only to be used for “counterfire purposes in the Kharkiv region.”

That’s a long way from ideal. It means Ukraine still can’t use these weapons to go after critical infrastructure used to position and support Russian forces. And Ukraine can’t use them to attack Russian forces assembling beyond its border for attacks on other regions of its country.

But it’s certainly better than not being able to use these weapons on forces that were firing into Kharkiv from the Russian side of the border. Until this week, Ukraine was aware of Russian positions that were directing missiles, aircraft-launched weapons, and MLRS fire into towns and villages along the northern border. Still, Ukraine’s leaders couldn’t do anything about it.

Now they can.

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