The Biden administration has signed off on both F-16s for Ukraine and attacks on Crimea using US-made weapons. Both of these moves have drawn dire warnings from nuclear-armed Russia, and both would have been unthinkable a year ago.
In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper from the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made it clear that Washington would approve of US weapons being used in an offensive to recapture Crimea, a horrifying prospect that many experts have agreed is the most likely scenario to lead to nuclear warfare in this conflict. Sullivan told Tapper that while the US has forbidden the use of American weapons to attack Russia, the US considers Crimea to be part of Ukraine, not Russia.
Here’s CNN’s transcript of the exchange:
TAPPER: In February on this show, you would not say whether the U.S. would support Ukrainian efforts to recapture Crimea. That’s one of the concerns that has been expressed about whether or not the Ukrainians are given the ability to hit Russian targets in Crimea. Do you think that Crimea is part of Ukraine?
SULLIVAN: Of course.
TAPPER: So, what would be the objection of giving…
SULLIVAN: Crimea is Ukraine.
SULLIVAN: I mean, that’s a very straightforward thing.
TAPPER: Well, yes you answered it directly. I mean, Russia doesn’t think so, obviously. But do you think that Ukraine should have weapons that can reach Russian targets in Crimea?
SULLIVAN: Yes. We have not placed limitations on Ukraine being able to strike on its territory within its internationally recognized borders. What we have said is that we will not enable Ukraine with U.S. systems, Western systems, to attack Russia. And we believe Crimea is Ukraine.