But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy never promised not to strike targets in Russia at all, and increasingly, his forces appear to be doing so, just not with American technology, as far as we can tell.
According to various reports, Ukrainian forces have sent armed drones into Russia proper, striking a trio of airbases in recent days, damaging aircraft and killing Russian military personnel.
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland has told CNN that while "nobody has claimed responsibility" for the drone strikes -- at least one of which struck a base hundreds of miles inside Russian territory, nevertheless, the "targets were the very precise bombers that the Russians have been using to attack critical infrastructure."
She added: "The Ukrainian people are incredibly innovative; they are making their own drones, air and sea, that are incredibly effective."
The outlet noted further:
The US State Department said the US is not "enabling" or "encouraging Ukraine to strike beyond its borders" with lethal aid, after Russia blamed several recent attacks on Russian military infrastructure on Ukraine.
"We are providing Ukraine with what it needs to use on its sovereign territory, on Ukrainian soil, to take on Russian aggressors, Russian aggressors that have crossed over the border," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
He followed that up by reemphasizing that the U.S. has not "provided Ukraine with weapons that it is to use inside of Russia."
"We have been very clear that these are defensive supplies," he added.
A tweet from the account known as Ukraine Weapons Tracker noted, along with a photograph: "The first image of the results of a Ukrainian long-range strike against Dyagilevo Air base near Ryazan shows that a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber received damage, along with a fuel truck. More photos required, but the damage to the bomber appears to be minor."
#Russia: The first image of the results of a Ukrainian long-range strike against Dyagilevo Air base near Ryazan shows that a Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber received damage, along with a fuel truck.
More photos required, but the damage to the bomber appears to be minor. pic.twitter.com/P7Ke2DUFfz
— ?? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) December 5, 2022
Other photos of the damage were posted online as well.
— ?????? ??? ????? (@praisethesteph) December 5, 2022
According to Zero Hedge, the attack on the Russian bombers was part of a wider campaign against the Kremlin's air power:
Overnight into Tuesday a third airfield deep inside Russia came under attack, suffering a fire after an oil storage depot was bombarded by what the Kremlin described as a drone attack that was repelled after the initial blast. A large blaze raged throughout the night as emergency crews responded.
It came the day after two explosions rocked a pair of air bases even further inside Russian territory, which killed three military personnel in the Ryazan region, and Russian Engels-1 airbase in Saratov. Those incidents were also subsequently described by the defense ministry as the result of drone attacks.
"Oil tankers at a base near the city of Kursk, around 60 miles from the border, were on fire and streaming smoke into the sky early Tuesday morning," The Daily Mail reported, citing regional sources.
Ukraine has to do something. Russia is deliberately targeting the country's energy infrastructure so if Kyiv wants to at least break even, its forces will have to hit Russia harder, where it hurts.