US Expected To Announce It Will Send Cluster Munitions To Kyiv


The Biden administration plans to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help it in its war against Russia, U.S. officials said, in a move that will likely anger human rights groups.

The controversial weapons are fired from a cannon and release dozens of “bomblets” across a wide area. They can cause harm long after the fighting has ended. Cluster munitions are banned by 123 countries because of the risk they pose to civilians — but the United States, Ukraine and Russia have not banned them.

The cluster munitions are expected to be part of a new U.S. aid package to Ukraine that is to be announced Friday.

Ukraine and Russia are using cluster munitions on the battlefield. But Kyiv has been asking Washington to send cluster munitions, because its forces are running low on ammunition. So far, the United States has resisted providing the cluster munitions because of the risk they pose to civilians.

But now, U.S. officials reportedly believe cluster munitions would be useful in Ukraine’s fight against Russia, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The expected U.S. decision, which could be announced as soon as Thursday, was first reported by National Public Radio

Earlier Thursday, a Russian missile struck an apartment building in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, killing at least four people and injuring nine others. 

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said the missile also damaged about 60 apartments and 50 cars. Sadovyi described the attack as the largest against the city’s civilian infrastructure since Russia’s invasion began last year.

“There will definitely be a response to the enemy. A tangible one,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Telegram.

Lviv is near Ukraine’s border with Poland, far from the front-line areas in eastern and southern Ukraine that have been the focus of much of the recent fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces.

Ukraine counteroffensive 

In an interview with CNN broadcast on Wednesday, Zelenskyy said he wanted to launch a counteroffensive earlier, but that the timing was dependent on getting military aid from Ukraine’s U.S. and European partners.

Ukraine began the counteroffensive last month, aiming to reclaim territory occupied by Russia since the Russian invasion began in February 2022.

Ukrainian officials have sought ammunition and more advanced weapons, including air defense systems and fighter jets, in order to match up with Russia’s military capabilities.

“I wanted our counteroffensive to happen much earlier, because everyone understood that if the counteroffensive unfolds later, then a bigger part of our territory will be mined,” Zelenskyy told CNN. “We give our enemy the time and possibility to place more mines and prepare their defensive lines.”

He reiterated his case for Ukraine to receive F-16 fighter jets, saying having the planes is not about gaining an aerial advantage, but rather “being equal” to Russia’s forces.

Denmark said last week that training for Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s had begun.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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