The White House has approved the provision to Ukraine of cluster munitions. President Biden’s decision, as reported by The Washington Post, comes amid concerns about the pace of Kyiv’s counteroffensive and dwindling Western stocks of conventional artillery — and after internal debate about the weapons that are banned by most countries.
Biden told journalists Friday that he made the decision to send cluster munitions because Ukraine is “running out of ammunition.”
“Ukraine will not be joining NATO” at the alliance’s upcoming Vilnius summit, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday, despite last minute appeals by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The active discussion at the summit, he said, would be on whether Ukraine has “moved beyond the need” for benchmarks it has to meet to qualify for membership. Still, Sullivan said the summit would be “an important moment on the pathway toward membership.”
Ukraine wants and expects an invitation to join NATO. Allies are not sure: Top Ukrainian officials are hoping that next week’s NATO summit in Lithuania will bring a “clear signal” that Ukraine will eventually join the alliance, anchoring the country in the West’s security infrastructure and sending an unequivocal message to Moscow, David L. Stern, Emily Rauhala and Isabelle Khurshudyan report.
Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, said the summit “must end” with Zelensky and Stoltenberg proclaiming an invitation for Kyiv to join the bloc. But just days before leaders arrive in the Lithuanian capital, it’s far from clear this will happen, and NATO allies are still negotiating what exactly to offer Ukraine.