Apr 28, 2022 - World

Ukraine can opt to strike on Russian soil, U.S. says

A fire at a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod. Photo: Russian government handout via Getty

The war in Ukraine seems to have reached Russian soil: three separate explosions were reported Wednesday at military storage depots, following fires on Monday at two oil storage facilities near the border.

State of play: Footage shared on social media of one of those earlier explosions suggested it was likely an “air or missile strike,” military analyst Rob Lee tweeted. Other fires at sensitive facilities farther from the border are more mysterious still, perhaps resulting from accidents or sabotage.

  • While Russia has not blamed Kyiv for the explosions, state media reported this week that a Ukrainian drone had been shot down over Russian territory.
  • Ukraine has also not directly claimed responsibility, but Mykhailo Podolyak, one of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top advisers, tweeted that it must be “karma.”

Asked how the U.S. would view Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, Secretary of State Tony Blinken told a Senate committee on Wednesday that it was up to Ukraine to use all tactics it deemed “necessary to defend against Russian aggression.”

  • Podolyak quickly trumpeted Blinken's remark and said, “Ukraine will defend itself in any way, including strikes on the warehouses and bases of the killers.”
  • U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace also said Ukrainian strikes on military targets inside Russia would be “legitimate under international law,” but hinted at fear of Russian retaliation by noting that such strikes were unlikely to be carried out using British-supplied weapons.

The latest: Asked Thursday whether the U.S. would support Ukrainian strikes on Russian soil, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not answer directly but noted, "we're talking about consideration of military targets," not civilian infrastructure.

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