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Russia-Ukraine War

Biden Greenlights Ukraine’s Use of U.S. Weapons Against Russian Forces Near Kharkiv



WASHINGTON — In a notable policy shift, President Joe Biden has granted Ukraine permission to use American-supplied weapons to counter Russian military actions near Kharkiv. This move comes amid escalating tensions and increased Russian advances towards Ukraine’s second-largest city, located merely 30 kilometers from the Russian border.

Speaking from Prague, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the change in policy. “Over the past few weeks, Ukraine requested authorization to use weapons we’ve provided to defend against this aggression, including against Russian forces massing on the Russian side of the border and attacking into Ukraine,” Blinken stated.

Blinken hinted that this policy could be extended to other conflict regions. “Going forward, we will continue to adapt and adjust our strategy as necessary,” he said. Notably, U.S. policy still prohibits the use of long-range missiles, known as ATACMS, capable of striking deep within Russian territory.

“This authorization applies specifically to counter-fire capabilities deployed just across the border. It does not extend to ATACMS or long-range strikes,” clarified Michael Carpenter, Senior Director for Europe at the White House National Security Council. “This measure is intended to allow Ukrainians to defend themselves against what would otherwise be a Russian sanctuary across the border,” Carpenter added in an interview with VOA.

President Biden had previously been reluctant to permit the use of American weapons for strikes inside Russia, fearing potential escalation. However, the recent intensification of Russian offensives on Kharkiv has likely influenced his decision. The White House’s decision, according to John Herbst, Senior Director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, “helps Ukraine manage a difficult situation in the northeast” and “removes a major burden on Ukraine’s efforts to protect civilians in Kharkiv and halt the Russian advance.” Nevertheless, Herbst noted that this step, while helpful, “does not fully convey the necessary message of American resolve to the Kremlin.”

Leveraging Frozen Russian Assets

In a related development, President Biden is set to host Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at the White House. This meeting follows the European Union’s recent decision to utilize profits from Russian central bank assets, frozen in the EU, to support Ukraine’s defense.

In response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the G7 economies, including the United States and the EU, have immobilized significant Russian central bank assets. The debate has centered around how to unlock these funds to aid Kyiv. Biden signed legislation in April allowing the U.S. to seize approximately $5 billion in Russian assets within its jurisdiction. However, the majority of the $280 billion in Russian assets are held in Europe, with $225 billion frozen in EU countries, predominantly Belgium.

The G7 finance ministers recently expressed support for the EU’s plan, which aims to use the interest and investment returns from these assets to fund Ukraine’s defense, potentially generating over $3 billion annually. This support is expected to be formalized at the upcoming G7 summit in Bari, Italy.

Ian Lesser, distinguished fellow at the German Marshall Fund, highlighted the significance of the plan, although he acknowledged its uncertainties. “What is clear is that it’s going to be collected and used at the European level,” Lesser explained. The funds could be directed towards economic support for Ukraine, as well as financing arms purchases and bolstering European defense industries.

Russian officials have threatened retaliation by confiscating U.S. and European assets within Russia. This potential response raises concerns about the precedent of using frozen assets under international law, as noted by Lesser, who cautioned that this approach might lead to similar actions globally.

Despite the plan’s potential to yield substantial funds for Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphasized that the ultimate goal remains the seizure of the principal Russian assets, not just the interest. “With all our gratitude for this decision today, the amounts are not commensurate with the total frozen assets,” Kuleba stated.

Belgium’s Military Support to Ukraine

Prime Minister De Croo’s visit to Washington follows his recent meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Belgium, where they signed a security agreement. This agreement includes the delivery of 30 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, intended to enhance Kyiv’s defense capabilities against Russia. “These F-16 jets will be provided to Ukraine as soon as possible, with the aim of delivering the first aircraft before the end of this year, 2024,” De Croo announced during a joint press conference with Zelenskyy.

However, De Croo stressed that these jets would not be used for operations inside Russian territory. Additionally, during his visit, De Croo is expected to urge President Biden to increase pressure on Israel to alter its war conduct and permit more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The geopolitical dynamics surrounding these decisions underscore the complex nature of international relations and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. President Biden’s recent policy shift and the EU’s financial strategies reflect the West’s commitment to supporting Ukraine while navigating the delicate balance of deterring further escalation with Russia.

Source: Information for this article was obtained from statements by U.S. officials, interviews conducted by VOA, and reports from the Atlantic Council and the German Marshall Fund.

Russia-Ukraine War

White House: Russian Advance on Kharkiv Stalled by Ukraine’s Strikes Inside Russia



KYIV, UKRAINE — The Russian military’s progress towards Kharkiv has come to a halt following the United States’ decision to allow Ukraine to use American-supplied weapons to target sites within Russia, according to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan announced on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that despite Kharkiv still being under threat, Russian forces have been unable to make significant advances in the area recently. This development follows Washington’s approval for Ukraine to use U.S. weapons to defend its Kharkiv region, which borders Russia. The decision was taken despite initial concerns that such actions could provoke a broader conflict involving NATO.

“From the president’s perspective, this was common sense,” Sullivan explained, emphasizing that Ukrainians should have the capability to strike back at Russian encampments and weaponry attacking them.

In a move mirroring Washington’s stance, NATO allies France and Germany have also permitted Ukraine to use Western-supplied arms for strikes inside Russia, particularly along the border in the Kharkiv region. However, this has drawn warnings from the Kremlin, which suggests that such actions could escalate the conflict and potentially drag Western nations into direct confrontation with Russia.

During a state visit to France, U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to leverage profits from approximately $280 billion in frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression. These funds, largely held in the EU, are intended to generate a steady revenue stream to service a $50 billion loan for Ukraine’s defense and infrastructure.

Some countries have expressed reservations about utilizing these profits, fearing it might be seen as theft. Nevertheless, a U.S. Treasury official indicated that the U.S. and G7 nations are progressing towards a consensus on this approach. The frozen assets yield between $2.7 billion to $3.8 billion annually, which the EU argues is not contractually owed to Russia and therefore can be redirected.

As the G7 summit in Italy approaches, U.S. officials plan to issue a strong warning to smaller Chinese banks assisting Russia in evading Western sanctions. Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics, stated that G7 leaders would address China’s support for Russia’s economy, framing it as a significant concern for European security and NATO.

Singh emphasized that China’s role in bolstering Russia’s military efforts represents a growing threat not only to Ukraine but to broader European and transatlantic security. President Biden, speaking in Paris alongside Macron, reaffirmed the commitment to countering any potential threat posed by Russia to European stability.

Meanwhile, the conflict continues to take a toll on civilians. Moscow-installed officials reported that two civilians were killed in Ukrainian attacks on Russian-controlled areas of eastern and southern Ukraine. One casualty occurred in Nova Maiachka, Kherson region, and another in Donetsk, both allegedly due to Ukrainian artillery and drone strikes.

Additionally, the Ukrainian military claimed to have struck a Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet at an air base inside Russia, marking a significant escalation. This claim was corroborated by a pro-Russian military blogger. The aircraft was reportedly hit by a drone while parked at the Akhtubinsk airfield, far from the front lines.

Ukraine and Russia exchanged airstrikes over the weekend, resulting in casualties on both sides. Ukrainian drone attacks on the Russia-held Kherson and Luhansk regions resulted in 28 deaths and 60 injuries, according to Ukrainian officials. Conversely, Russian airstrikes in eastern Ukraine primarily caused damage to buildings and infrastructure.

These incidents highlight the ongoing intensity of the conflict and the significant impact on civilian populations and military assets alike. The situation remains volatile, with potential for further escalation depending on the actions and responses of the involved parties.

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Russia-Ukraine War

Putin Warns West Against Letting Ukraine Use Missiles to Strike Russia



MOSCOW, May 29 (WARYATV) – Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to Western nations on Tuesday, cautioning that allowing Ukraine to use Western-supplied missiles to target Russia could spark a global conflict. Putin’s comments come as NATO members in Europe consider providing Ukraine with advanced weaponry capable of striking deep inside Russian territory.

“By proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike inside Russia, NATO members in Europe are playing with fire,” Putin stated. He emphasized that such actions could escalate into a broader global conflict.

More than two years into the deadliest land war in Europe since World War II, Putin has increasingly highlighted the risks of a global confrontation. This comes as Western nations continue to deliberate on their response to the ongoing advance of Russian troops in Ukraine.

Putin’s remarks underscore the heightened tensions between Russia and the West, as both sides navigate the complexities of the ongoing conflict and its potential implications for global security.

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Russia-Ukraine War

Poland’s Foreign Minister Hints at Possibility of Sending Troops to Ukraine



WARSAW, May 29 (WARYATV) – – Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski, suggested that Poland should not exclude the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine, a NATO nation, in a bid to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin uncertain about their next move. Sikorski made these remarks in an interview published Tuesday in the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

“We should not exclude any option. Let Putin be guessing as to what we will do,” Sikorski stated when asked about the prospect of deploying Polish troops to Ukraine.

Sikorski, who recently visited Ukraine with his family to deliver humanitarian aid, emphasized the importance of maintaining strategic ambiguity regarding Poland’s potential actions.

However, Janusz Sejmej, a spokesperson for Poland’s Defense Ministry, responded to inquiries about a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine by stating he had “no knowledge of that” concerning the potential deployment of Polish troops to Ukraine.

Earlier this year, the concept of sending foreign soldiers to Ukraine to support its fight against Russian military aggression was discussed in France, but no country, including Poland, has officially endorsed the idea.

Poland has been a staunch supporter of neighboring Ukraine, providing political backing, military equipment, and humanitarian aid to assist in its defense against Russian aggression.

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Russia’s Strategic Gamble: The Geopolitical Chess Game in Eastern Europe



Russia’s Strategic Gamble: Window of Opportunity Amidst Ukrainian Anticipation of US Weapons

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has taken another pivotal turn, as Russia capitalizes on a critical period when Ukrainian forces await the arrival of US-supplied weaponry. This moment, characterized by a temporary imbalance in military capabilities, presents a controversial and strategically significant juncture in the broader geopolitical landscape of Eastern Europe. This article delves into the multifaceted perspectives and scenarios arising from this situation, highlighting its potential to reshape global power dynamics.

The Strategic Calculus of Timing

Russia’s decision to intensify its military efforts during this period of Ukrainian anticipation is a calculated risk. The waiting period for the delivery of advanced US weapons leaves Ukrainian forces in a potentially vulnerable position. For Russia, this is seen as a window of opportunity to exert pressure and achieve tactical gains before Ukraine’s military capabilities are bolstered.

From a strategic perspective, this move is a classic example of exploiting a temporary advantage. By intensifying military actions now, Russia aims to create facts on the ground that could complicate future Ukrainian counter-offensives and negotiations. The potential capture of strategic locations and the imposition of new territorial realities could strengthen Russia’s bargaining position in any future peace talks.

Ukrainian Resilience and Western Support

On the other side, Ukraine’s resilience and the steadfast support of its Western allies present significant challenges to Russia’s ambitions. The delivery of US weapons, while delayed, promises to significantly enhance Ukraine’s defensive and offensive capabilities. Advanced systems such as the Patriot missile defense systems and Abrams tanks are expected to shift the balance of power on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian government and military have remained resolute, using this period to reorganize and fortify their defenses. The anticipation of US weapons has also galvanized international support, with NATO and EU countries reaffirming their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and security. This international backing is crucial, as it sends a strong message to Russia about the geopolitical stakes involved.

Global Implications and Geopolitical Ramifications

The unfolding events in Ukraine have far-reaching implications beyond the immediate conflict zone. The way this situation evolves could redefine the global security architecture and influence the strategic calculations of other nations. For instance:

  1. NATO’s Credibility and Cohesion: The alliance’s response to Russia’s actions will be closely watched. A robust support for Ukraine could reinforce NATO’s credibility and deter future aggressions. Conversely, any perceived weakness or indecision could embolden other adversaries.
  2. US-Russia Relations: This period marks a critical test for US foreign policy. The effectiveness of US military aid to Ukraine will be a significant factor in shaping future US-Russia relations and the broader East-West geopolitical divide.
  3. China’s Calculations: As a key ally of Russia, China’s stance and actions will be influenced by the developments in Ukraine. The conflict serves as a case study for China in its considerations regarding Taiwan and its regional ambitions.

Potential Scenarios and Outcomes

Several potential scenarios could emerge from the current situation, each with distinct implications:

  1. Russian Gains Before US Weapons Arrival: If Russia manages to secure significant territorial gains before the US weapons arrive, it could strengthen its negotiating position and force Ukraine into a more defensive posture.
  2. Effective Ukrainian Counter-Offensive: Once the US weapons are delivered, Ukraine could launch a potent counter-offensive, reclaiming lost territories and altering the momentum of the conflict in its favor.
  3. Protracted Stalemate: The conflict could devolve into a prolonged stalemate, with neither side able to achieve a decisive victory. This scenario would likely lead to increased international pressure for a negotiated settlement.
  4. Escalation and Wider Conflict: There’s a risk that the conflict could escalate further, potentially drawing in more direct involvement from NATO or leading to broader regional instability.

Conclusion: The Stakes of Eastern European Security

As the world watches the unfolding drama in Ukraine, the stakes could not be higher. The current period of vulnerability, strategic opportunism, and impending reinforcement sets the stage for a potentially transformative moment in Eastern European security. The decisions made by the key actors in the coming weeks and months will reverberate across the globe, influencing not only the future of Ukraine but also the broader international order.

This controversy, filled with strategic maneuvers and high-stakes decisions, serves as a stark reminder of the fragile balance of power and the enduring importance of geopolitical strategy in shaping our world today.

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Russia-Ukraine War

Europe and Britain’s Preparations Against Putin’s Threat of War



Explore Europe and Britain’s strategic measures to counter Vladimir Putin’s aggression, from nuclear deterrents to conscription, in the face of a looming doomsday WW3 scenario.

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

As tensions escalate between Russia and the West, Europe and Britain are ramping up their defenses against the specter of war, implementing strategic measures to deter aggression and safeguard their sovereignty.

In an interactive graphic, explore how Europe and Britain are preparing for the threat of conflict with Russia, from nuclear deterrence to conscription, in the face of a potential doomsday WW3 scenario.

More than two years into the Ukraine war, Vladimir Putin has shown no signs of backing down, prompting UK and European allies to fortify their economies and armed forces for the possibility of all-out war.

One key aspect of Europe’s defense strategy is the bolstering of its nuclear deterrent, with NATO forces stationed at Russia’s doorstep to deter any aggressive actions. Explore the strategic placement of these nuclear assets in the interactive graphic.

In addition to nuclear deterrence, European countries are implementing conscription policies, requiring citizens to serve in the armed forces from the age of 18. Discover how conscription is being utilized as a tool to strengthen Europe’s military readiness against potential threats.

Furthermore, arms factories across the continent are entering a war footing, with production lines whirring into life to meet the demand for military hardware. Explore the role of these factories in Europe’s defense strategy and their contribution to bolstering national security.

Amidst the looming threat of war, Europe and Britain are adopting a proactive approach to defense, investing in advanced weaponry, cyber defenses, and strategic partnerships to enhance their collective security.

Navigate through the interactive graphic to gain insights into Europe and Britain’s preparations against Putin’s aggression, and explore the measures being taken to mitigate the risks of a catastrophic conflict.

As geopolitical tensions continue to simmer, Europe and Britain remain steadfast in their commitment to peace and security, while also preparing for the possibility of a worst-case scenario. Explore the interactive graphic to learn more about their defense strategies in the face of uncertainty.

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Russia-Ukraine War

What is behind Russia’s nuclear escalation threat?



Deciphering Russia’s Nuclear Escalation Threat Amid Ukraine Tensions

By Kasim Abdulkadir:

The motivations behind Russia’s recent nuclear escalation threat amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and explore potential paths towards diplomatic resolution.

As tensions continue to escalate in the war-torn region of Ukraine, Russia’s recent nuclear escalation threat has sent shockwaves across the international community. While brinkmanship has long been a feature of the conflict, the specter of nuclear escalation raises concerns about the potential for catastrophic consequences. Understanding the motivations behind Russia’s threat is crucial in assessing the current geopolitical landscape and exploring avenues for diplomatic resolution.

At the heart of Russia’s nuclear escalation threat lies a complex web of strategic calculations, geopolitical ambitions, and domestic political considerations. Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia has sought to assert its influence in the region while pushing back against perceived encroachments by Western powers, particularly NATO. The threat of nuclear escalation serves as a potent tool to underscore Russia’s resolve and deter external intervention in Ukraine.

Moreover, Russia’s nuclear posturing can be viewed as part of a broader strategy to assert itself as a major global player and challenge the existing world order dominated by Western powers. By leveraging its nuclear arsenal, Russia aims to project strength and assert its interests on the world stage, signaling to adversaries that it possesses the capability and willingness to defend its territorial integrity and national security.

However, the recent nuclear escalation threat also reflects domestic political dynamics within Russia, where President Vladimir Putin faces mounting pressure amid economic challenges and discontent among the population. By adopting a confrontational stance towards the West and rallying nationalist sentiments, Putin seeks to bolster his domestic standing and rally support behind his leadership.

Despite the alarming rhetoric surrounding Russia’s nuclear escalation threat, there remains room for diplomatic off-ramps to de-escalate tensions and pave the way for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine. International actors, including the United States, European Union, and neighboring countries, play a crucial role in facilitating dialogue and negotiation between the conflicting parties.

Diplomatic efforts should focus on addressing the underlying grievances and security concerns of all parties involved while respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Confidence-building measures, such as ceasefire agreements, withdrawal of troops, and arms control initiatives, can help build trust and create conducive conditions for meaningful dialogue.

Furthermore, the international community must remain vigilant against any attempts to exploit the crisis for narrow geopolitical gains or resort to military escalation. Collective security mechanisms, such as the United Nations Security Council, provide avenues for multilateral engagement and coordination to address the root causes of the conflict and prevent further escalation.

In conclusion, while Russia’s nuclear escalation threat adds a dangerous dimension to the conflict in Ukraine, it also presents an opportunity for renewed diplomatic engagement and conflict resolution. By understanding the motivations behind Russia’s actions and pursuing constructive dialogue, the international community can work towards de-escalating tensions and fostering a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

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Russia-Ukraine War

Blinken makes unannounced visit to Kyiv as Ukraine faces Russian challenge in east



Blinken’s Surprise Kyiv Visit: A Diplomatic Signal Amidst Rising Tensions


In a move that reverberated through diplomatic circles, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken embarked on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, signaling heightened concern amidst Ukraine’s mounting challenges in the east. Against the backdrop of escalating tensions with Russia, Blinken’s presence underscores the gravity of the situation and the importance of international support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.

As Ukraine faces a renewed Russian challenge in its eastern regions, Blinken’s visit serves as a tangible demonstration of U.S. solidarity with its Ukrainian allies. Amidst fears of further Russian aggression, the United States reaffirms its commitment to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and security, standing firmly against any attempts to undermine its sovereignty.

The timing of Blinken’s visit is significant, coming just days after reports of increased Russian troop movements near the Ukrainian border. With tensions running high, the diplomatic engagement between the United States and Ukraine takes on added urgency, as both countries seek to navigate a delicate geopolitical landscape.

Beyond the symbolic gesture of solidarity, Blinken’s visit also provides an opportunity for substantive discussions on a range of bilateral and regional issues. From security cooperation to economic reform, the United States and Ukraine have a vested interest in deepening their partnership and strengthening Ukraine’s resilience in the face of external threats.

At the heart of Blinken’s mission is a message of support and reassurance for the Ukrainian people, who continue to endure the impact of conflict and instability in the east. As Ukraine strives to defend its sovereignty and uphold its democratic values, the United States stands as a steadfast ally, ready to provide assistance and support in the face of adversity.

In the coming days, the international community will closely watch developments in Ukraine, mindful of the need to uphold the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Blinken’s visit serves as a reminder of the shared values and common interests that bind the United States and Ukraine together, even in the face of adversity.

As Blinken concludes his visit to Kyiv and returns to Washington, the diplomatic engagement between the United States and Ukraine will continue unabated. With Russian pressure mounting and Ukraine’s eastern challenges persisting, the need for international solidarity and cooperation has never been greater.

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Russia-Ukraine War

Putin Nominates Civilian Economist to Lead Defense Ministry, Ousting Shoigu in Unexpected Move



Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unexpected decision to nominate a civilian economist to head the defense ministry, replacing long-time minister Shoigu, sparks intrigue and speculation about the future of Russian military leadership.


In a bold and unexpected move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has put forth a civilian economist to lead the country’s defense ministry, replacing the long-standing defense minister Sergei Shoigu. This decision has sent shockwaves through political circles, sparking speculation about the future trajectory of Russian military leadership.

The nomination of a civilian economist to such a critical role underscores Putin’s commitment to reshaping Russia’s defense strategy and organizational structure. It marks a departure from the traditional military-centric approach to national security and signals a shift towards a more technocratic and economically-focused leadership style.

Sergei Shoigu, who has held the position of defense minister since 2012, is widely regarded as a powerful and influential figure within the Russian government. His sudden removal from office has raised questions about the reasons behind Putin’s decision and the broader implications for Russia’s defense policy.

The newly nominated civilian economist, whose identity has not yet been revealed, brings a fresh perspective to the defense ministry. With expertise in economics and strategic planning, they are expected to prioritize modernization efforts and streamline military spending to enhance Russia’s defense capabilities.

Putin’s decision to replace Shoigu with a civilian appointee reflects his desire to inject new ideas and approaches into the country’s defense establishment. It also reflects a broader trend towards civilianization of key government positions, as Putin seeks to balance military strength with economic stability and growth.

The nomination must be approved by the Russian parliament, but given Putin’s firm control over the legislative process, it is widely expected to pass without major opposition. Once confirmed, the new defense minister will face the formidable task of navigating Russia’s complex geopolitical landscape and safeguarding the country’s security interests.

The sudden shake-up in Russia’s defense leadership comes at a time of heightened tensions with the West and growing challenges on the international stage. As Putin seeks to assert Russia’s position as a global power, the appointment of a civilian economist to lead the defense ministry signals a strategic shift in Russia’s approach to national security and defense policy.

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