The United States announced a new aid package for Ukraine, and the European Union approved a new plan to support Kiev, while Moscow considered Western positions a new escalation of the conflict.
US officials said that Washington intends to announce new military aid to Ukraine that includes cluster munitions, and Al-Jazeera correspondent quoted a US official as saying that the new military aid to Ukraine will include cluster munitions.
Media also reported that the US administration is expected to announce an additional military aid package to Ukraine, and said that the Pentagon intends to provide Ukraine with an ample amount of cluster bombs.
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder confirmed that if it was decided to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, the Pentagon would be keen to provide it with types with low failure rates, noting that cluster munitions would be useful in any type of offensive operation.
On the other hand, the Russian Sputnik agency quoted Russia’s representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, as saying that the United States’ supply of cluster munitions to Ukraine would be another step towards escalation.
Two days ago, Human Rights Watch appealed to Washington to avoid supplying cluster munitions to Kiev, and accused Russia of using these munitions in Ukraine.
More than 120 countries have signed an international treaty banning these munitions, which usually scatter a large number of small bombs over a large area, which can kill or maim civilians who they do not know anything about after months or years. Russia, Ukraine and the United States have refused to sign the treaty.
Meanwhile, EU negotiators approved a €500 million plan to boost munitions production in support of Ukraine.
German news agency DPA reported that EU negotiators agreed on the plan to boost supplies of ammunition and long-range missiles to Ukraine.
The agency said that the Spanish presidency of the Union announced – in the early hours of Friday morning – that the negotiators of the Union and the European Parliament had reached an agreement on a plan to provide the defense industry in Europe with financial incentives to expand production capabilities quickly. The initiative will be funded from the bloc’s joint budget.
“This is further evidence of the European Union’s unwavering commitment to support Ukraine,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said – in a statement, adding that this would also strengthen the defense technology and industrial base of the European Union, and ultimately guarantee long-term security and defense for the citizens of the bloc.
In a related context, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to take concrete steps towards granting membership to Kiev at a summit next week.
Zelensky said that his country needs much more than just the general declaration it obtained more than 10 years ago that the door of the alliance is “open” in front of it, adding that Kiev needs honesty in its relations with the alliance, and that the time has come to show “the courage of this alliance.” And his strength.”
During the summit, which will be held on July 11-12 in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, Kiev is seeking a clear signal from NATO that it can obtain membership when its war with Russia ends.
Ukraine wants to join as quickly as possible, but NATO members are divided over the speed of taking such a step, with some countries concerned about moves that could bring the alliance closer to a de facto war with Russia.