09:23 18 May 2024

US ban on strikes on Russian territory seriously undermines Ukraine's ability to defend itself — ISW

The US unwillingness to support Ukraine's use of US-provided weapons in strikes against military targets in Russia seriously undermines the ability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to defend themselves against Russian offensive operations in the north of the Kharkiv region.

Rubryka writes, referring to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) analysts.

According to American analysts, the restrictions imposed by the United States and other Western countries on Ukraine's ability to strike military targets in Russia have created a sanctuary in the border areas of the Russian Federation from where Russian aircraft can launch glide bomb and missile strikes on Ukrainian positions and populated areas.

In addition, Russian forces and equipment can freely assemble before entering combat.

The Institute for the Study of War notes that US representatives have once again confirmed the reluctance of the White House to use US-provided weapons to strike military targets in Russia.

The spokeswoman for the US Department of Defense, Sabrina Singh, said on May 16 that the Biden administration has not changed its position on the use of American weapons by Ukrainian forces to strike targets in Russia. In particular, the administration believes that these weapons should be used to liberate the occupied Ukrainian territory.

ISW Key Takeaways as of May 17:

  • Vladimir Putin called the Russian offensive operations in the north of the Kharkiv region part of Russian efforts to create a "buffer zone" to protect the border areas from Ukrainian strikes, which confirms ISW's previous assessments.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainian forces have stabilized the front in the north of the Kharkiv region and that Russian troops have not reached Ukraine's "concrete" and "most powerful" line of defense in this area.
  • Russian forces are likely to be able to stretch Ukrainian forces on a wide front and fix Ukrainian troops in the international border area even as the tempo of Russian offensive operations in the northern Kharkiv region slows.
  • Russian forces reportedly leveraged notable electronic warfare (EW) capabilities to support tactically significant gains during the first days of their limited offensive operation in the northern Kharkiv region.
  • Senior NATO military commanders confirmed ISW's prior assessments that Russian forces do not have sufficient forces to achieve a "strategic breakthrough" in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted a series of large-scale aerial and naval drone strikes against Russian energy and port infrastructure in Krasnodar Krai and occupied Crimea on the night of May 16 to 17.
  • US officials reiterated the White House's unwillingness to support Ukraine's use of US-provided weapons in strikes against military targets in Russia.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attempted to further known Russian information operations intended to directly undermine Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's legitimacy as president.
  • Russian forces recently marginally advanced near Avdiivka.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the annual Russian-Chinese Expo and forum on interregional cooperation and visited Harbin Polytechnic University during the second and last day of his trip to the People's Republic of China (PRC) on May 17.
  • Ukrainian and Western sources continue to report that Russian forces are committing war crimes in newly occupied areas of the Kharkiv region.

We will remind that according to the experts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the ATACMS missiles provided to Ukraine by the United States can weaken Russian logistics and threaten Russian airfields and warehouses with strikes. However, for Ukraine, they will have an operational significance if these strikes are reinforced by ground operations of the Defense Forces.


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