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Weapons Ukraine could use to attack Russia

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The Biden administration allows Ukraine Attacks in Russia The use of U.S.-made weapons fulfills a long-held desire of Kiev officials, who claim it is essential for fair competition.

The policy shift comes after nearly a dozen European governments and Canada announced their weapons could be used to launch missiles at Russia.

Freed from these restrictions, Ukraine can strike Russia with French SCALP missiles and may soon also use Storm Shadow missiles of the same type supplied by the United Kingdom. Although British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on May 3 that Ukraine should be able to strike Russia with Western weapons, London has not yet given full permission, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with The Guardian. The interview was published on Friday.

The SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles have a range of about 150 miles and are fired by Ukraine’s aging fleet of Soviet-designed fighter jets.

Several countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and the United States, have provided Ukraine with land-based launchers that can fire long-range missiles. These systems are called HIMARS and MLRS launchers, and they can also fire the U.S.-made Army Tactical Missile SystemOr ATACMS, which has a range of up to 190 miles.

However, in revealing the new policy, U.S. officials said their policy does not allow the use of ATACMS or long-range missiles that can penetrate deep into Russia. Germany has so far refused to donate Taurus missiles, which have a range of 310 miles, in part out of concern that it could be fired deep into Russia and escalate the war. Raphael Loos, an arms expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview Thursday that Germany is now even less likely to do so.

In addition, Britain, Canada and the United States have provided Ukraine with medium-range missiles or ground-based small diameter bombs that can reach within 50 to 90 miles of Russian territory.

But the new authorization could have the biggest impact in the war for air superiority — especially if allies allow their donated jets and drones to launch attacks from within Russian airspace.

The Dutch foreign minister said on Friday that Ukraine could use 24 F-16 fighter jets pledged by the Netherlands to fly combat missions into Russian territory.

“If you have the right to self-defense, then there are no borders when it comes to the use of weapons,” said Minister Hank Bruins-Slote. Before the meeting “This is a universal principle,” said NATO’s top diplomat in Prague.

It was unclear whether Denmark would allow the 19 F-16s sent by Ukraine to fly into Russian airspace, where they could be shot down. At least four countries — Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and North Macedonia — have provided the Soviet-era fighters. Long-range attack drones sent by Britain and Turkey could also fly directly into Russia.

Weapons expert Los said that at the very least, the incoming fleet of F-16s will be equipped with long-range missiles that can target Russian warplanes “from behind the border,” which will have an impact on Ukraine’s future air power.

“We’re not there yet,” he said, noting that Ukrainian pilots have not yet mastered enough skills to counter Russia’s superiority. “But it is possible that Ukraine’s future F-16 fleet could strike Russian territory.”

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