Russia-Ukraine war news: Biden approves cluster munitions for Kyiv; rights groups criticize move

The White House has approved the supply of cluster munitions to Ukraine. President Biden’s decision, The Washington Post reports, comes amid concerns over the pace of Kiev’s counteroffensive and dwindling Western stockpiles of conventional artillery, and after domestic debate over weapons that are banned by most of countries

German and French officials told reporters that their countries have refused to do the same, having made treaty commitments not to distribute cluster munitions.

Human rights groups criticized the US move. “Cluster munitions are an indiscriminate weapon that poses a serious threat to civilian life, even long after a conflict has ended,” said Daniel Balson, Europe and Central Asia Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA, a human rights group, in a statement. Mary Wareham, director of advocacy in the arms division at Human Rights Watch, called the U.S. decision “appalling,” arguing that removing the 1 percent failure measure would pose “a threat even greater for civilians, including deminers.”

Ukraine wants and expects an invitation to join NATO. Allies are not safe: Senior Ukrainian officials hope 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 a message unequivocal in 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 issuing an invitation for Kiev to join the bloc. But just days before the leaders arrive in the Lithuanian capital, it is not clear that will happen, and the NATO allies are still negotiating exactly what to offer Ukraine.

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