US Not Concerned About Ukrainian Attacks in Russia Escalating the War

The Biden administration has been less and less concerned about the risk of provoking a direct clash between NATO and Russia

The New York Times reported Monday that the Biden administration has “shrugged off” Ukrainian attacks inside Russia as US officials are no longer as concerned about escalation as they were earlier in the war.

The report said that during the first year of the war, Biden administration officials worried that if Ukraine hit targets inside Russia, Moscow could retaliate against NATO. But those fears are gone as the administration does not seem concerned over the recent attacks inside Russia, which have included drone attacks on residential areas in Moscow and a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod region that was carried out using US armored vehicles.

“It’s not like we’re going to go out and investigate this,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters when asked if the US thought Ukraine was behind the attacks in Moscow. According to the Times, administration officials seem even less concerned behind closed doors.

The lessening concern of escalation from the US and its NATO allies has been a pattern throughout the war. In March 2022, the US and other NATO countries rejected a Polish offer to send its Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine over concerns that Moscow could view the move as the alliance directly entering the war. Earlier this year, Poland and Slovakia delivered MiG-29s to Ukraine, and President Biden signed off on European countries sending US-made F-16s to Kyiv.

The US also used to be more concerned about the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin using a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, but that has waned as well. US officials think Putin might only use a nuke if he feels “cornered” or if his control of Crimea is threatened. Despite that assessment, Biden administration officials have repeatedly said that they support Ukrainian attacks on Crimea and won’t restrict Kyiv’s ability to use American weapons on the peninsula.

The Biden administration’s lack of concern about escalating the war appears to be based only on the fact that Putin hasn’t taken action against NATO up to this point. But it’s clear that as the war drags on and the US and NATO continue to increase support for Kyiv, a direct clash between the Western alliance and Russia becomes more likely.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.