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Ukraine Urges West to Allow Use of Weapons to Hit Russian Air Bases

WorldUkraine Urges West to Allow Use of Weapons to Hit Russian Air Bases

As bombs dropped by Russian warplanes tore through residential districts in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv this weekend, killing at least four people and injuring dozens more, President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday called on allies to further ease restrictions on the use of Western weapons so that his forces could use them against Russian air bases.

The Biden administration’s recent decision to allow Ukraine to use certain weapons to hit forces inside Russia has had an immediate impact, helping Ukraine thwart Moscow’s offensive north of Kharkiv and slowing the bombardment of the city, Ukraine’s second-largest, which is only about 25 miles from the border.

But the lifting of U.S. restrictions does not apply to the use of Army Tactical Missile Systems, known as ATACMS, some of which have a range of around 190 miles. Those longer-range weapons would be needed to hit air bases deep in Russian territory that are used by the bombers. Kyiv has been left to rely largely on its own expanding fleet of domestically produced drones to go after those bases.

Ukraine’s air defenses are gradually being strengthened after months of delays in American military assistance, but Russia continues to mount daily bombardments and Mr. Zelensky is desperate to find ways to thwart the attacks before they begin.

“We have enough determination to destroy terrorists on their territory — it is only fair — and we need the same determination from our partners,” he said in a post on social media on Sunday.

“Just this day alone, our warriors shot down two Russian Kalibr missiles,” he wrote. “Yesterday — 12 Russian missiles and 13 attack drones. And so on — every night and every day.”

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