The Pentagon has tacitly agreed to Ukraine's long-range strikes against targets in Russia following regular attacks by Russian invaders on critical civilian infrastructure and energy facilities in Ukraine. This is reported by The Times, citing sources in the US Department of Defense.
The publication notes that since the Russian Federation launched regular attacks against the civilian population of Ukraine in October, the Pentagon has revised its assessment of the threat to war in Ukraine. It now includes new considerations as to whether arms deliveries to Kyiv could lead to a military confrontation between Russia and NATO. Now Washington is more inclined to supply Kiev with more long-range weapons, the newspaper writes.
«We still use the same escalation calculations, but the fear of escalation has changed from the very beginning. Now everything is different. This is because the calculations of the war have changed due to the suffering and cruelty that the Ukrainians experience because of the Russians»,— noted a source in the US defense department.
Washington is now less concerned that more long-range strikes against Russia could escalate dramatically. So far, all of Moscow's retaliatory strikes have involved conventional missile strikes against civilian targets.
The Pentagon used to fear Ukrainian attacks against Russia because it feared the Kremlin would retaliate with either tactical nuclear weapons or strike at neighboring NATO countries .
At the same time, Washington does not want it to be seen that Kyiv has publicly received the «green light» for attacks on Russian territory. Washington's position was voiced this week by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. He said «we did not encourage or allow Ukrainians to strike inside Russia».
However, a source in the US defense department noted: «We do not say to Kiev: «Do not strike at the Russians (in Russia or in the Crimea. — Ed.)». We cannot tell them what to do. They decide how they want to use theirs, but when they use weapons supplied by us, the only thing we insist on is that the Ukrainian military abide by the international laws of war and the Geneva Conventions», — said the source of the publication.
«These are the only restrictions, but they include the absence of attacks on Russian families and killings. As far as we understand, Ukraine complies with these requirements», — added the interlocutor.
If the US decides to supply Ukraine with longer-range weapons that can strike deep into Russian territory, fear of a possible escalation could increase dramatically. However, Pentagon officials have signaled that Kiev's requests for longer-range American weapons, including missiles and fighter-bombers that can be used for even more effective strikes inside Russia or occupied Crimea, are being taken seriously.
«Nothing is impossible», — said a US defense official.