US is not preventing Ukraine from developing long-range strike capabilities, defense secretary says

The US is not working to prevent Ukraine from developing its own long-range strike capabilities that could potentially target inside Russian territory, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

“We are not working to prevent Ukraine from developing their own capability,” Austin said on Tuesday. 

His comments come after a top US State Department official on Tuesday suggested that the Ukrainians were behind the recent drone strikes on two Russian bases, and directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes by targeting civilian populations and infrastructure.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland told CNN that “nobody has claimed responsibility” for the drone strikes, but added that “the Ukrainian people are incredibly innovative; they are making their own drones, air and sea, that are incredibly effective.”

Additionally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the US has “neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia.”

Speaking at a press conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Australian counterparts, Blinken said he was aware of the reported drone strikes on Russian territory, but had no further information.

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