Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has not encouraged or enabled Ukrainian forces to conduct missile strikes inside Russia as Moscow’s war against neighboring Ukraine extends into its 10th month.
During a news conference on Tuesday, Blinken said the U.S. was informed of reports about drone strikes on Russian military sites but stressed that it had not helped Ukraine carry out the reported attacks.
Several Russian military sites were the target of drone strikes in the last two days, with one such attack causing a fire at an air base in Russia’s Kursk region on Tuesday and separate strikes on Monday resulting in the deaths of three Russian service members and injuries to four others.
“We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia,” Blinken said in response to a question about the strikes, before adding that the U.S. and other allies are dedicated to sending Ukrainian forces the equipment they need to defend against ongoing attacks from Russia.
“But the important thing is to understand what Ukrainians are living through every day with the ongoing Russian aggression against their country and our determination to make sure that they have in their hands, along with many other partners around the world, the equipment that they need to defend themselves, to defend their territory, to defend their freedom,” Blinken said.
Blinken’s remarks come as Ukrainian officials have not formally confirmed that the country is behind the attacks on Russian military sites.
In response to the attacks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a statement that Russian forces will take any “necessary measures” to strengthen protection at key facilities.
Russia has carried out another wave of missile attacks targeting Ukrainian civilian infrastructure amid reports of the drone strikes.
Russian forces have focused their missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, resulting in residents losing electricity all over the country and causing temporary blackouts at power plants.
The U.S. last week announced plans to provide $53 million to Ukraine to help restore the country’s energy infrastructure, noting that the latest equipment provided will be delivered on an emergency basis to help Ukrainian residents persevere throughout the winter season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.