Ukrainian Military Says No Ban on Attacking Crimea

Ukrainian Military Says No Ban on Attacking Crimea
Ukrainian soldiers walk through the clearing while smoke rises from fighting with Russian troops

Kiev - Ukraine's promise not to invade Russian territory with Western-supplied weapons does not cover Crimea. This was stated by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Aleksey Reznikov. Western countries have claimed that their supply of advanced weapons to Ukraine is conditional on not being used against targets in Russia.

But officials in Kiev have insisted that Crimea is not included in the rule, considering the peninsula as its own territory. In an interview with Voice of America, Reznikov said the United States had no objections to attacks in the region, which Russia considers its own.

“We have an agreement with the US that we will not use weapons provided by the US and its partners on the territory of the Russian Federation. But if we discuss the de-occupation of Ukrainian lands where the enemy is now, there is no such limit," he said, after being asked about a possible attack on Crimea.

The Ukrainian minister stated that the limiting factor in such an attack is the range of weapons it receives from foreign allies. In the same interview, he expressed hope that Ukraine will soon receive the MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missile.

The Lockheed Martin-made projectile can be fired by the M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS rocket systems, which Ukraine already has, and has a range of up to 300 km, far more than the types of munitions provided by the US so far.

Crimea broke away from Ukraine after the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, which toppled the democratically elected government. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to join Russia, which accepted the offer and enshrined the peninsula's new status in its constitution.

The move was not recognized by Kiev, which said it would seek only a peaceful resolution to the crisis after defeating Russia militarily and expelling it from all captured territory, including Crimea.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has said it is imposing restrictions on Ukraine to avoid being drawn directly into a conflict with Russia. Several officials in the US and Russia have asserted that the conflict in Ukraine is a proxy war between NATO and Russia. Washington says its goal in Ukraine is to achieve Moscow's strategic defeat.

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