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Monday July 22, 2024

Ukraine makes its own targeting decisions, says Pentagon

By Reuters
June 25, 2024
The Pentagon is seen from the air in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022, more than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine. — Reuters
The Pentagon is seen from the air in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022, more than a week after Russia invaded Ukraine. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said on Monday that Ukraine makes its own targeting decisions after the Kremlin directly blamed the United States for an attack on Crimea that it said was carried out with US-supplied ATACMS missiles and that killed at least four people and injured 151.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and Russian officials have said that the conflict is entering the most dangerous escalatory phase to date.

But directly blaming the United States for a deadly attack on Crimea - which Russia annexed in 2014 and now considers to be Russian territory although most of the world considers it to be part of Ukraine - is a step further.

“Ukraine makes its own targeting decisions and conducts its own military operations,” Major Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesperson, said. A White House National Security Council spokesperson said any loss of civilian life was a tragedy. “That certainly includes the thousands of innocent Ukrainians who have been killed by Russian forces since this Russian war of aggression began,” the spokesperson said.

At least two children were killed in the attack on Sevastopol on Sunday, according to Russian officials. Video showed people running from a beach near Sevastopol and some of the injured being carried off on sun loungers.

Russia said the United States had supplied the weapons, while US military specialists had aimed the weapons and provided data for them. Russia summoned US Ambassador Lynne Tracy to the foreign ministry where she faced accusations that Washington was “waging a hybrid war against Russia and has actually become a party to the conflict”.