A senior Biden administration official told Politico this week that the US supports Ukraine striking Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014 but neither Washington nor Kyiv recognize as Russian territory.
The official said the US considers strikes on Ukrainian soil “self-defense,” which applies to Crimea in Washington’s eyes. “We don’t select targets, of course, and everything we’ve provided is for self-defense purposes. Any target they choose to pursue on sovereign Ukrainian soil is by definition self-defense,” the official said.
The comments came after a series of explosions at Russian military facilities in Crimea, including a major one at the Saki air base that reportedly destroyed nine Russian warplanes. Officially, Kyiv hasn’t taken credit for the incidents, but Ukrainian officials have strongly hinted at Ukraine’s involvement.
While the recent incidents appear to be acts of sabotage, Ukrainian officials have said they are preparing to use US-provided weapons, such as HIMARS rocket systems, to attack Crimea. Washington doesn’t want Ukraine using US weapons on Russian territory, but Crimea appears to be fair game since the US considers it Ukraine.