President Biden has allowed Ukraine to use US-supplied weaponry to hit targets on Russian territory. This crosses a long-held red line on Ukraine’s use of equipment supplied by Washington.

Politico reported one US official on Thursday saying: “The president recently directed his team to ensure that Ukraine is able to use US weapons for counter-fire purposes in Kharkiv so Ukraine can hit back at Russian forces hitting them or preparing to hit them.”

This means that Ukraine can now use US-supplied rockets and rocket launchers to target Russian missiles being launched towards Kharkiv, attack Russian troops stationed just over the border, or shoot at Russian bombers firing towards the city.

The official added that this permission did not extend to weapons like the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), which could be used for long-range strikes deep within Russia. Despite these restrictions, the move is a major escalatory change from Biden’s initial policy: that US weapons should only be used within Ukraine’s territory, in order to “avoid World War III.”

On Friday, Germany announced that it too would allow Ukraine to use its weapons, such as self-propelled howitzers and Mars II rocket launchers, to strike targets in Russia.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenburg welcomed the change in US and German policy at a meeting of NATO members in Prague, stating that Britain has already “provided Storm Shadow cruise missiles for a long time without any restrictions.”

CND General Secretary Kate Hudson said:
“Joe Biden’s move unleashes another military escalation that increases the chance of a nuclear conflict. Biden previously claimed he wouldn’t do this – to avoid World War Three. What’s changed? Is he now OK with that possibility – or even likelihood? He’s put us on a slippery slope to catastrophe. It’s time to stop this war, end the suffering, and negotiate a lasting political solution.”