Biden Greenlights Ukrainian Strikes With US-Supplied Weapons Inside Russia, Defense Stocks Rise

Zinger Key Points
  • Kharkiv sees increased Russian aggression; recent strike kills 18, injures 48 in crowded hypermarket.
  • Biden lifts restriction on Ukraine using U.S. weapons for strikes inside Russia, reports Associated Press.

The Biden administration has lifted a long-standing restriction preventing Ukraine from using U.S.-supplied weapons for offensive operations inside Russian territory.

According to an Associated Press report, this policy change signifies a major shift in U.S. strategy as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia intensifies.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and located close to the Russian border, has been the target of increased Russian aggression in the last few weeks.

Last weekend, an attack on a large store resulted in the deaths of 18 people, including a 12-year-old girl, marking the most severe assault Ukraine has faced in weeks. Regional officials reported that nearly 200 people were inside the Epicenter hypermarket when the strike occurred, injuring 48 individuals.

Blinken And Allies Already Signaled Policy Adjustment, Putin Sends Ultimatum

As reported earlier by the Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a visit to Moldova, suggested that Washington might revise its stance, potentially allowing Ukraine to use longer-range ATACMS missiles and other U.S. weapons to target positions inside Russia.

Blinken emphasized the need for the U.S. to “adapt and adjust” its military support in response to the evolving conditions on the battlefield, stating, “We're going to make sure that Ukraine has the equipment it needs.”

Ahead of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Prague, where the U.S. is anticipated to face calls to relax its restrictions on Ukraine’s use of U.S. weapons, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky also noted progress towards an agreement on allowing strikes into Russian territory.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in an interview with the Economist, stressed the importance of reconsidering current restrictions. He noted that denying Ukraine the capability to strike legitimate military targets on Russian soil, especially with intense fighting near Kharkiv, hampers their defense efforts.

In response, the Russian media outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets highlighted President Vladimir Putin‘s stern warning to the West, describing any Ukrainian use of long-range missiles as evidence of NATO's direct involvement in the conflict.

Market Reactions

The S&P 500, monitored by the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY, closed Thursday 0.6% lower.

The tech-focused Nasdaq 100, tracked by the Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ, fell by 1.1%.

In contrast, the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF ITA saw a 0.9% increase, outperforming the broader market, with defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT surging 1.8%, its best performance since late March 2024.

Read now: Fed’s Favorite Inflation Data Due Friday: How Could Markets React To Surprises?

Photo: Shutterstock

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Posted In: Specialty ETFsGlobalTop StoriesAntony BlinkenJoe BidenRussiaStories That MatterUkraineUkraine-Russia WarVladimir Putin
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