US expected to send Ukraine cluster munitions, NYT reports
PHOTO CAPTION: A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces carries an empty shell from a self-propelled howitzer at positions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near the settlement of Makariv, Ukraine, March 6, 2022. REUTERS/Maksim Levin
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States is expected to announce that it will provide cluster munitions to Ukraine for its fight against Russia's invasion, the New York Times reported.
The newspaper cited an unidentified senior Biden administration official and offered no further details. The decision is expected to be announced on Thursday, a reporter from National Public Radio said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
The U.S. military believes that cluster munitions would be useful for Ukraine in pushing back against Russian forces, a senior Pentagon official said in June, but they had not been approved for Kyiv yet because of congressional restrictions and concerns among allies.
Ukraine has urged members of Congress to press President Joe Biden's administration to approve sending Dual-Purpose Conventional ImprovedMunitions (DPICM).
The cluster munitions, banned by more than 120 countries, normally release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area, threatening civilians.
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used cluster munitions that have killed Ukrainian civilians, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Thursday which called on both nations to stop using them and urged the U.S. not to supply them.
Ukraine has also been pushing for new Western fighter planes, including F-16s, as it pursues a counteroffensive.
"F-16 or any other equipment that we do need will give us an opportunity to move faster, to save more lives, to stand our ground for a longer time," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in an ABC News interview broadcast on Thursday.
NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands are leading efforts by an international coalition to train pilots and support staff, to maintain aircraft and ultimately supply F-16s to Ukraine.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Christina Fincher and Gareth Jones)