US to send Ukraine cluster munitions, NATO makes membership pledge

us-to-send-ukraine-cluster-munitions,-nato-makes-membership-pledge
US to send Ukraine cluster munitions, NATO makes membership pledge

The United States has announced that it will provide Ukraine with cluster munitions as part of an $800 million security package. These munitions are widely banned and have raised concerns from rights groups and the United Nations. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the conflict as a “special military operation” and believes that the U.S. and its allies are fighting an expanding proxy war. Despite the controversy, Ukraine has assured that it will use the cluster munitions carefully to minimize risks to civilians.

U.S. President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the decision to provide cluster bombs to Ukraine was difficult but necessary. He believes that Ukraine needs these munitions to defend against occupying Russian forces. However, Grigory Karasin, head of the international committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, has expressed serious concerns about the decisions made by the U.S. and NATO, stating that Russia will respond accordingly.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces has seen some progress, with the country reclaiming villages in southern Ukraine. However, Ukraine lacks the firepower and air cover to make faster progress. The situation on the battlefield is still uncertain, and it is too early to judge the success of the counteroffensive.

In the midst of these developments, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been touring NATO countries to drum up support for Ukraine’s membership. He has received pledges of support from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Turkey, with promises that Ukraine can join NATO as soon as the war is over or conditions allow. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has reaffirmed his belief that Ukraine will become a member, stating that NATO stands united against Russia’s aggression.

However, the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius remains uncertain in terms of what Ukraine will be offered. The alliance is divided on how fast Ukraine should move towards membership, and some countries are wary of escalating tensions with Russia. Zelenskiy has acknowledged that Ukraine is unlikely to join NATO while at war with Russia, and Putin has threatened unspecified action if Ukraine joins the alliance.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, aid chief Martin Griffiths has warned Russia not to abandon the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement made a year ago for the safe wartime passage of agricultural exports. If Russia does not extend the deal, Western states are unlikely to continue cooperating with U.N. officials assisting Moscow with its exports. The deal expires on July 17, and Russia has threatened to quit due to unmet demands regarding its own grain and fertilizer exports.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative in 2022 to address the global food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has emphasized the importance of these deals in ensuring global food security.

In conclusion, the United States’ decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine has sparked controversy, with concerns raised by rights groups and the United Nations. Despite this, Ukraine has assured that it will use these munitions carefully to minimize harm to civilians. Ukrainian President Zelenskiy has been seeking support for NATO membership during his visits to NATO countries, but the upcoming summit remains uncertain in terms of what Ukraine will be offered. Additionally, the Black Sea Grain Initiative between Russia and Ukraine is at risk of collapsing, which could have implications for global food security.

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