Blinken suggests the US could accept Ukrainian strikes in Russia with American weapons

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken suggested on Wednesday that the Biden administration might be willing to tolerate attacks by the Ukrainian military inside Russia using American-made weapons, saying the United States will “adapt and adapt” the their position based on changing conditions in the country. the battlefield.

Blinken said the United States neither encouraged nor allowed such attacks. But he said Ukrainians must make their own decisions about how to best defend themselves — a position he has stated before — and that the U.S. government has “adapted and adjusted as needed” as the war has evolved.

When a reporter asked him if his words “adapt and adapt” meant that the United States might support Ukraine's attacks with American-made weapons inside Russia, he replied: “Adapt and adapt means exactly that.” – meaning those words, signaling flexibility on Washington's part. .

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Washington has sent military aid to the Ukrainians but has repeatedly called not to fire US-made weapons on Russian territory for fear of an escalation of the war .

Several European leaders have called on President Biden to stop imposing such limits, including Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Emmanuel Macron, president of France.

Blinken made his remarks in Chisinau, Moldova's capital, while standing next to Maia Sandu, the nation's president, who is expected to face a pro-Russian candidate when he runs for re-election in October. The two spoke to journalists after an afternoon meeting in the presidential offices.

“Our neighbors, our friends in Ukraine, pay an outrageous price every day,” Ms. Sandu said.

Blinken announced new aid to Moldova to address a range of problems stemming from Russian aggression, including the invasion of Ukraine.

The first of the two packages mentioned included $50 million to support Moldova's industry and government, as well as democratic processes. Blinken mentioned the energy and agriculture sectors and the need to combat disinformation.

“What is so powerful here is the deep and rooted commitment to democracy,” Blinken said, “in the face of bullying by Russia.”

Ms. Sandu thanked Blinken for American help in fighting corruption, building renewable energy infrastructure and addressing the “adversities of democracy,” a nod to Russian election interference.

The second aid package mentioned amounted to $85 million to help Moldova increase its energy resilience and reduce its dependence on electricity generated in a Russian-backed breakaway region in the east, Transnistria. These funds, part of a $300 million commitment previously announced by the United States Agency for International Development, would help Moldova strengthen its battery storage capabilities and high-voltage transmission lines, among other needs energy, Blinken said.

Moldova recently stopped depending on natural gas imports from Russia and now buys gas from numerous countries, including the United States.

Blinken's visit to Chisinau was the first stop on a trip aimed at demonstrating U.S. support for nations facing a hostile Russia. Mr Blinken will then travel to the Czech Republic, where he will attend a meeting of foreign ministers and senior NATO officials on Thursday and Friday. They plan to discuss how to best support Ukraine.

This trip follows Mr. Blinken's overnight visit to Kiev more than two weeks ago.

Ms. Sandu has supported Moldova's entry into the European Union and has scheduled a referendum on the issue for the same day as October's presidential election.

U.S. and European analysts say Moscow will likely try to interfere in the election, as it has done elsewhere in Europe. The Biden administration has spoken publicly about Russian agents carrying out such interference using a variety of means, from hacking to orchestrating social media campaigns to distributing money to favored politicians.

Around 1,500 Russian soldiers are in Transnistria, on the border with Ukraine. U.S. officials are watching for any signs that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin may try to annex the territory.

The NATO session in the Czech Republic officially aims to consolidate the agenda for the Alliance leaders' meeting in Washington in July. The group is not expected to declare that Ukraine will now join NATO, an aspiration Zelensky reiterated after the Russian invasion. They are, however, expected to work out the details to move Ukraine along the accession process.

As Russian troops launch an offensive in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, Ukraine's war effort is slowing down, largely due to shortages of weapons and ammunition. There are also fewer citizens who can join the fight.

Biden recently signed a bill passed by Congress, despite some Republican opposition, granting new military aid to Ukraine.

Russia is producing munitions at a rapid pace, and U.S.-led sanctions have failed to cripple its military industrial capabilities. Biden and his aides say China has played a decisive role in strengthening Russia through exports of dual-use equipment and other goods that have allowed it to boost weapons production. Blinken is expected to highlight China's support for Russia in his discussions at the NATO meeting in Prague.

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