Ukraine complains US is limiting strikes in Russia

Russian firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at after an alleged drone attack
Russian firefighters try to extinguish a blaze at after an alleged drone attack - Russian Emergencies Ministry/REUTERS

Kyiv has complained that the United States has set limits on how far it can strike within Russia, hindering its ability to target airfields.

Ukrainian officials have claimed that Washington has limited how far it can strike inside Russia to within 62 miles of its border, which puts air bases used by Russian warplanes out of reach, according to The Washington Post.

Officials have denied the claim, with a Pentagon spokesman insisting that Ukraine “has the ability to hit back”.

The US gave Ukraine permission to strike targets inside Russia with US-made missiles at the beginning of this month after the Kremlin launched an attack across the border towards Kharkiv.

Washington had been reluctant to allow US missiles to strike Russia because it was worried about escalating the war.

The row over US rules for Ukrainian missile strikes reignited as Russian forces claimed to have used a FAB-3000 M-54 glide bomb, twice the size of its standard FAB-1500 bomb, for the first time in Ukraine.

A video circulating on Telegram showed massive damage to the village of Lyptsi, in the Kharkiv region, after an alleged FAB-3000 glide bomb strike, even though commentary admitted that it had missed its target.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, described the attack as a “significant development” that increased the Kremlin’s firepower.

“The strike was not particularly accurate, but the destruction radius of the FAB-3000 will compensate for its lack of accuracy,” it said.

The Kremlin has developed winged navigation equipment called UMPK that is retrofitted to standard bombs. These kits give bombs a basic guiding capacity and also allow warplanes to drop them a safe distance from the target.

Some Russian military bloggers, though, have been less impressed with the emergence of the FAB-3000 glide bomb.

Fighterbomber, which has 468,000 subscribers on Telegram and specialises in aviation warfare, said that Russia’s Su-34 warplanes can only carry one FAB-3000 glide bomb, rather than three FAB-1500s, and that advances to Ukraine’s electronic warfare systems were denting their accuracy.

“The age of the UMPK with cheap satellite guidance systems is ending,” it said. “Electronic warfare is winning. Accuracy is dropping.”

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