US never forbade Ukraine to down aircraft over Russia

John Kirby
John Kirby

The U.S. restrictions on Ukraine using Western weapons to strike Russian territory never included a ban on using anti-air systems to shoot down warplanes in Russia’s airspace, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said on June 4.

The statement was reported by Voice of America correspondent Yulia Yarmolenko via Twitter.

“There's never been a restriction on the Ukrainians shooting down hostile aircraft, even if those aircraft are not necessarily in Ukrainian airspace,” Kirby said.

“They can shoot down Russian airplanes that pose an impending threat, and they have since the beginning of the war.”

Read also: Canada supplies weapons to Ukraine without restrictions on their use

Recent media reports by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal suggested that U.S. President Joe Biden had finally relented and allowed Ukraine to use certain Western weapon systems—HIMARS rocket artillery, GMLRS munitions, and U.S.-made artillery—to fire into Russian sovereign territory adjacent to Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast.

Notably, Washington is still opposed to Kyiv firing ATACMS ballistic missiles into Russia, or using any kind of Western weapons for strikes deep beyond the border.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine