US to give Ukraine cluster munitions in $800 million aid package
8 July, 2023 | Archana Raj
United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that the US will send cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a new military aid package. The United States has decided to send clust...
United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced that the US will send cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a new military aid package.
The United States has decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a new military aid package. This decision has been met with criticism from some countries, as cluster munitions are banned by over 100 countries. However, the US government has said that it is necessary to provide Ukraine with the weapons in order to help them defend themselves against Russia.
The munitions that the US is sending are compatible with the 155 mm howitzers that it has already provided to Ukraine. These howitzers have been crucial in helping Ukraine retake territory from Russia. Cluster munitions are similar to landmines, in that they disperse small bomblets over a wide area. However, unlike landmines, cluster munitions often have a dud rate of up to 2.35%. This means that some of the bomblets may not detonate on impact, posing a danger to civilians.
The decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has been met with criticism from some countries, including Germany. Germany is a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use of these weapons. However, the US and Ukraine are not signatories to the convention.
The Russian government has also criticized the US decision, calling it a “move of desperation.” The Russian ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, said that the US is sending cluster munitions to Ukraine because the “much-advertised counter-offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces did not go according to plan.”
The decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine is a controversial one. However, the US government has said that it is necessary to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia. It remains to be seen whether the weapons will be used in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.
Decision on Ukraine’s NATO membership
The White House said that the summit in Vilnius will be a “milestone” in NATO’s relationship with Ukraine, as it will highlight the alliance’s readiness to consider Ukraine’s membership. However, Ukraine will not be joining NATO at the summit, as it still has further steps to take before it can be admitted.
Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Advisor, said that Ukraine will have the opportunity to discuss the reforms that are still necessary for it to meet NATO standards. He also said that the White House expects Sweden’s NATO membership to be approved in the near future, and that Turkey and Hungary could “possibly” drop their opposition at the summit.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, but Turkey and Hungary have blocked their membership due to a disagreement over alleged Kurdish militants. Finland officially joined the bloc in April, but Sweden’s membership is still pending. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is preventing Sweden from entering NATO because of Stockholm’s decision to allow alleged Kurdish militants to dwell in the Nordic nation. The summit in Vilnius is set to be an important opportunity for NATO to discuss its relationship with Ukraine and Sweden.