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Ukraine can use U.S. weapons for limited strikes in Russia, Biden says

President Biden will allow Ukraine to use U.S.-provided weaponry against limited military targets inside Russia, officials said Thursday, a dramatic reversal of a long-standing precautionary measure that comes as Kyiv struggles to defend its second-largest city from a withering onslaught.

The policy shift, disclosed by U.S. officials on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president's decision, authorizes Ukrainian commanders to "hit back against Russian forces that are attacking them or preparing to attack them" in and around Kharkiv, near the border in northeast Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials in his government have campaigned for the shift with increasing urgency as Russia has pressed its assault there, emboldened by the Kremlin's knowledge of Washington's red lines, officials in Kyiv say.

The decision draws Biden even deeper into a war in which Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly raised the prospect of a nuclear strike, a concern for a U.S. leader who matured amid the U.S.-Soviet nuclear confrontations of the 1960s. Biden has been cautious about escalation - but also mindful that the Ukrainians have repeatedly been granted greater capabilities and faced down a Kremlin that did little in response.


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