A volunteer helps an elderly woman evacuate from Vovchansk in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine, May 11, 2024 (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

Thursday’s Coverage: US — Kyiv Can Strike Inside Russia With American Weapons

Map: Institute for the Study of War


The Biden Administration has changed its public position yet again on whether Ukraine can use US-supplied weapons on Russian territory.

Visiting Kyiv, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared to lift the Administration’s ban on the use of the weapons, including ATAMCS missile systems with a range of 300 km (186 miles). Washington had not endorsed the attacks, but the decision was up to Ukraine’s officials, said Blinken.

But on Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters, “We believe that the equipment, the capabilities that we are giving Ukraine, that other countries are giving to Ukraine should be used to take back Ukrainian sovereign territory.”

Singh said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov how the US weapons could be used.

“And we believe that is within Ukrainian territory,” Singh emphasized.


Two civilians were killed and six injured by Russian shelling of 15 settlements in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine on Thursday.

A medical facility, a shop, four multi-story buildings, and seven private houses were damaged.


A Ukrainian strike on Russia’s Belbek airbase in occupied Crimea this week destroyed three warplanes and a fuel facility near the main runway, assesses US commercial satellite company Maxar.

Satellite imagery showed two MiG-31 fighter jets and an Su-27 fighter jet had been destroyed. A MiG-29 fighter aircraft appeared to have been damaged.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says the frontline in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine has “stabilized” amid a week-long cross-border Russian offensive.

“Today, our defense forces have stabilised the Russians where they are now. The deepest point of their advance is 10 km (6.2 miles),” Zelenskiy said.

Ukraine’s military commander-in-chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi said the invaders have expanded the area of active hostilities by almost 70 square km (27 square miles).

Syrski said Russia is “trying to force [Ukraine] to use an additional number of brigades from the reserve”. Moscow had not made a breakthrough, but there will be “tough fighting” ahead.


Ukraine air defenses downed all 20 drones launched by Russia overnight.

The UAVs were shot down over the Kharkiv, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, and Mykolaiv regions.

The attack damaged five buildings, one of them belonging to the district administration, in Kharkiv.


Ukrainian drone attacks have set afire an oil refinery in southwest Russia and cut off power in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea.

The Russian Defense ministry insisted that air defenses downed 51 Ukrainian drones over Crimea, 44 over Russia’s Krasnodar region, and six over the Belgorod region. Russian warplanes and patrol boats destroyed six naval drones in the Black Sea, the Ministry claimed.

But Russia proxy governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said the drone attack damaged the city’s power plant. It may take a day to restore energy supplies fully. Meanwhile, schools have been closed.


Some NATO members — including the UK, Germany, and France — are considering the deployment of military instructors or contractors in Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops and assist with repairs of equipment.

The US remains hesitant because of the risk of attacks on instructors, which could triggering NATO’s provision for collective defense.

Some officials have suggested the continuation of training of Ukrainian recruits in Germany and Poland, but the numbers involved pose challenges in logistics and transport.

Lithuania Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said last week, “Our troops have been training Ukrainians in Ukraine before the war. So returning to this tradition might be quite doable.”

Estonia has not ruled out the possibility of sending troops to western Ukraine. They would take over roles freeing Ukrainian troops to go to the front, said National Security Advisor Madis Roll.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces, in their week-long cross-border offensive into the Kharkiv region, of capturing and holding civilians in the town of Vovchansk.

The Russians have seized about 12 villages and attacked Vovchansk, around 5 km (3.1 miles) from the border, from three sides. Ukrainian officials said there has been fighting in the northern part of the town, with around 500 civilians remaining of Vovchansk’s pre-invasion population of 17,000.

The officials added on Thursday that the Russians used 35 to 40 civilians as protection for their assaults. Interior Minister Igor Klymenko summarized:

According to operational information, the Russian military, trying to gain a foothold in the city, did not allow local residents to evacuate#. They began abducting people and driving them to basements.

Sergiy Bolvinov, head of the Investigation Department of Kharkiv regional police added, “The Russians keep them in one place and actually use them as a human shield, as their command headquarters is nearby.”

Russian officials did not respond to the allegations.

Visiting Kharkiv on Thursday, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said:

As of today, the situation in Kharkiv Oblast is generally under control. Our soldiers are inflicting significant losses.

However, the situation remains difficult. We are reinforcing our units.

Zelenskiy met the Ukraine military’s Commander-in-Chief Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, and other commanders, and received reports from heads of intelligence services about Russian plans.

The President said, “A plan for further actions has been defined, both for Kharkiv Oblast’s regional authorities and all security structures in the region.”

He added in his nightly video address to the nation: