Kiev can only use US-supplied weapons in a defensive manner, the White House says An apartment block partially destroyed by a shelling in Belgorod, Russia on May 13, 2024. © Anton Vergun / Sputnik

The US has denied helping Ukraine use Western-supplied weapons to strike Russian territory, after Moscow accused Washington of “playing with fire” by allowing Kiev to shell Russian cities.

Speaking at a press briefing on Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced an additional $2 billion aid package for Kiev, saying Washington was “closely monitoring the Russian offensive in northeastern Ukraine” and “working around the clock to get weapons and equipment into the hands of the Ukrainian soldiers to repel those attacks.”

However, he stressed that the equipment and funds should only be used to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses rather than strike targets on Russian soil.

“We do not encourage, nor do we enable attacks using US-supplied weapon systems inside Russian territory. That’s the policy that has not changed,” Kirby said in response to a reporter’s question on whether it was time to reconsider “the prohibition on Ukraine against using American weapons in an offensive manner.”

Ukraine asks US to help locate targets in Russia – media Ukraine asks US to help locate targets in Russia – media

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Ukraine asks US to help locate targets in Russia – media

US officials have previously stated that they continue to view Crimea, the republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, as Ukrainian territory under Russian “occupation.” Crimea voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia shortly after the 2014 Western-backed coup in Kiev, while the four other regions did the same in September 2022.

Russian troops crossed into Ukraine’s Kharkov Region last week and have since captured several villages along the border. Ukraine’s General Staff has stated that the Russians have achieved some “tactical success,” and reported heavy fighting around the city of Volchansk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin previously warned that Moscow could seek to establish a buffer zone in eastern Ukraine to prevent Ukrainian forces from shelling civilian targets in the Russian city of Belgorod and other border regions. “This is what we are doing. As for [the capture of] Kharkov, there are no such plans for today,” he said during his trip to China on Friday.

Kiev blames US for Russian advances – Politico Kiev blames US for Russian advances – Politico

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Kiev blames US for Russian advances – Politico

Moscow has accused NATO and EU countries of encouraging Ukraine to strike residential areas using Western-supplied long-range missiles, such as ATACMS and Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG.

“Russia will not leave such encroachments on its territory unanswered,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Saturday.

Kiev, meanwhile, has argued that the latest Russian offensive was made possible by restrictions on the use of Western arms, as well as delays in deliveries. “They can fire any weapons from their territory at ours. This is the biggest advantage that Russia has,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told AFP news agency on Friday.

Earlier this week, members of Ukraine’s parliament traveled to Washington in a bid to convince the White House to lift the restrictions, according to Politico. Kiev has also reportedly requested help with intelligence on targets inside Russia. (RT)