NATO chief Stoltenberg: Providing cluster bombs to Ukraine is up to each alliance member

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The North Atlantic Treaty Alliance isn’t taking a position on whether the Biden administration should provide controversial cluster bomb munitions to Ukraine as part of a security assistance package. 

At a Friday press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that’s a decision for each country to make.

He noted that several NATO allies have signed the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which seeks to ban their use on the battlefield.

“It is up for individual allies to make decisions on the delivery of weapons and military supplies to Ukraine,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters. “This will be for governments to decide, and not for NATO as an alliance.”

The Biden administration on Friday is expected to formally announce its decision to provide Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICMs) to Ukraine. They are artillery or missile-delivered weapons designed to burst into submunitions mid-flight to allow dense area coverage. They can scatter both shaped charges for anti-armor missions and fragmentation rounds in an anti-personnel role.

The White House hopes the decision will help Kyiv with its weeks-long counteroffensive. Ukrainian troops have made steady but slow progress on the battlefield. Their troops have come up against a dense tangle of Russian obstacles on the front line, including trenches and minefields.

“Russia used cluster munitions in their brutal war of aggression to invade another country while Ukraine is using (them) to defend itself,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “The best way to end this brutal war is for President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia to stop attacking another country.”

NATO leaders will meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a wide range of topics, including questions about Ukraine’s membership bid and Sweden’s accession to the alliance.

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