Ukraine will put pressure on the US during the NATO summit to lift all restrictions on strikes against the Russian Federation

Oleksandra Amru

Ukraine plans to increase pressure on the Administration of US President Joe Biden during the NATO summit this week to remove all restrictions on strikes by US weapons on Russian territory. In particular, Kyiv seeks permission to strike deep into Russia with American ATACMS long-range ballistic missiles.

This was stated by the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak in an interview with POLITICO.

The pressure campaign began after the Russians fired a rocket at the Okhmatdyt childrenʼs hospital in Kyiv. Ukrainian, American and European high-ranking officials believe that the missile was Russian, but differ on whether the hospital was deliberately hit.

During several months, during numerous meetings and telephone conversations, Ukraine asked the White House to lift the restrictions on ATACMS missile strikes deep in Russia. However, the US does not give such permission, fearing the escalation of the conflict.

Ukraine believes that these fears, although justified, should not prevail over the need for Ukraine to strike back at Russia, Yermak says.

He said he plans to raise the issue again this week in his meetings with the Biden administration, adding that it may take some time for the U.S. to agree.

"If you are good friends, it does not mean that you have the same position on everything," Yermak noted.

He added that Ukraine still needs more information from the Biden administration about how many weapons it plans to provide in the coming months and the expected delivery date.

"We have this package, but unfortunately the delivery is delayed. We need more guns. We need to move faster,” Yermak said, referring to the funding passed by Congress in April.

Strikes on the Russian Federation by American weapons

On May 30, 2024, it became known that US President Joe Biden gave permission to Ukraine to strike Russian territory with American weapons, but with certain restrictions — the strikes must be against military targets in the border regions to protect Kharkiv Oblast.

In June, the Pentagon said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine can use American weapons to attack Russian forces anywhere on the border territory of the Russian Federation, and not only those bordering the Kharkiv region.

Ukraine can freely use American GMLRS rockets, HIMARS artillery missile systems and other artillery. However, the authorization does not extend to long-range ATACMS surface-to-surface missiles.

After the missile attack on Okhmatdyt, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, called on the USA and other Western countries, which have not yet done so, to lift the restrictions on strikes with their weapons on the territory of the Russian Federation. US National Security Adviser John Kirby responded by saying that even after the attack on the childrenʼs hospital, the White House will not lift the restrictions on the Armed Forces of Ukraine to strike Russian territory with American weapons — Ukraine can use American weapons only for strikes on the border of the Russian Federation, from where it attacks, in particular, Kharkiv region.

Hit on Okhmatdyt

On the morning of July 8, 2024, Russian troops attacked Kyiv, Kryvyi Rih and Dnipro with various types of missiles. One of the rockets hit Ukraineʼs largest childrenʼs hospital Okhmatdyt in Kyiv, destroying it.

Two adults were killed (one of them, 30-year-old nephrologist Svitlana Lukyanchuk), and 32 people were injured when a Russian rocket hit the hospital. Eight children were hospitalized with various injuries.

The Security Service of Ukraine declares that Okhmatdyt destroyed a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile launched by a bomber during a massive missile attack on Ukraine. In particular, a fragment of the Kh-101 missile wing opening mechanism, a fragment of the Kh-101 missile jamming unit, the middle part of the Kh-101 cruise missile body, a fairing of the tail compartment and a fragment of the hydroblock of the Kh-101 cruise missile, as well as fragments of the engine casing of the cruise missile were found on the territory of the hospital. X-101 missiles with display of inventory and serial numbers.

The special service is convinced that it was a targeted missile attack — this is indicated by the flight path, the nature of the damage and numerous videos taken by eyewitnesses. Large-scale destruction — the destruction of the two-story building of the hospital and significant damage to the surrounding buildings — is not characteristic of an air defense missile, but the Kh-101 with a warhead weight of 400 kg can do this.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine believes that Okhmatdyt was "highly likely" to have been hit by a Russian missile. At the time of the attack, there were 670 children and about a thousand hospital workers.

Meanwhile, Russian propaganda promotes the version that Okhmatdyt was hit by an AIM-120 anti-aircraft missile of the NASAMS anti-aircraft complex or a missile from the American Patriot complex, which are protecting the capital.

  • The NATO summit began on July 9 in Washington, DC, and will continue until July 11. In addition to the members of the Alliance, foreign ministers of 35 non-NATO partner countries were invited to the event. Among the famous participants are the heads of foreign affairs of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Ukraine will also be at the summit.