The US is still holding Ukraine back by limiting what it can take out on Russian soil: ISW

  • The US recently green-lit strikes by Ukraine on targets in Russia using its weapons.

  • But its placing strict limits on which ones can be used and where.

  • A think tank said the restrictions were holding Ukraine back.

Ukraine appears to have had only minor success in using US-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia because of the strict limits imposed by President Joe Biden.

Last month, Biden said that Ukraine could fire US weapons against targets on Russian soil, in limited circumstances.

The change in policy came after Ukraine's European allies, including the UK, lifted bans on their weapons being used to strike Russia directly.

However, the Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, said in its daily report that, under the rules, Ukraine could only strike around 16% of Russian territory within the range of weapons supplied by the US.

"US policy restricting Ukraine's usage of US-provided weapons has effectively created a vast sanctuary – territory in range of US-provided weapons but that Ukrainian forces are not allowed to strike with US-provided weapons – which Russia exploits to shield its combat forces, command and control, logistics, and rear area support services that the Russian military uses to conduct its military operations in Ukraine," said the ISW.

Biden's directive allows for US-supplied weapons to be used to strike military targets inside Russia that are attacking or preparing to attack Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.

However, according to the ISW, because a large number of Russian military targets remain off-limits, Ukraine is still unable to disrupt Russian military operations significantly.

"ISW assesses that the West maintains the ability to substantially disrupt Russian operations at scale by allowing Ukraine to use Western-provided weapons to strike Russia's operational rear and deep rear areas in Russian territory," said the ISW.

Biden has taken a cautious approach to how much support the US should give Ukraine, fearing an escalation of the conflict that could pull in NATO powers.

Russia had exploited the restrictions placed on Ukraine to launch devastating attacks from its territory on Kharkiv, which is around 12 miles from the Russian border.

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