The US regards Ukrainian strikes on Crimea as fair game for “self-defense purposes,” Politico reported on Thursday, citing an unnamed official in President Joe Biden’s administration.
Washington won’t stand in the way of attacks on the peninsula “if Kiev deems them necessary,” the outlet reported. Historically Russian, Crimea was part of independent Ukraine from 1991 to 2014 before locals voted to reunify with Moscow.
“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 anonymous official said.
Asked by Politico if the Biden administration considered the peninsula sovereign Ukrainian territory, the official said: “Crimea is Ukraine.”
Crimea broke away from Ukraine following an armed coup in Kiev in 2014 and voted overwhelmingly in a referendum to join Russia, which was not recognized by the West.
A Ukrainian official told the outlet that the “message of support” from Biden’s administration “had made its way to Kiev.”