Jun 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Austin: Enabling Ukraine strikes on Russian soil will prove "very helpful"

Lloyd Austin, US secretary of defense, speaks during the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Singapore on June 1. Photo: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that the new U.S. policy allowing Ukraine to use long-ranged weapons to strike deeper into Russia is "going to prove to be very, very helpful."

Why it matters: There's growing concern that if Russia defeats Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will begin threatening other countries.

  • Putin warned this week that Russia could provide long-range weapons to nations seeking to attack the West.

What they're saying: Austin was asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer how far the U.S. is willing to go in letting Kyiv strike deeper into Russia with U.S. weapons when deemed necessary.

  • "Our policy using long-range strike weaponry to go into Russia hasn't changed," said Austin, speaking from Normandy, France, where he joined world leaders including President Biden to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.
  • "But what we have done is provided Ukraine the ability to counter-fire, to fire back at those Russian troops that are firing at them, and to be able to take out their artillery batteries as they're firing at the Ukrainians.
  • He added: "I think that's going to prove to be very, very helpful to the Ukrainians going forward."

Context: Biden gave Ukraine permission late last month to use American weapons to strike select targets in Russia.

  • The move greatly increased Ukraine's ability to defend itself against Russia's ongoing, unprovoked invasion.

Go deeper: Ukraine has "freaking decimated" Russia's military, Biden says

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