In a significant shift of American policy, President Joe Biden recently gave approval to a controversial decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions. This decision, which has sparked both intense debate and concern, required further elucidation from the White House to shed light on the reasons that led to such a drastic measure.
A Dire Circumstance Prompts Bold Action
In an exclusive interview with CNN, President Biden emphasized the precarious situation in Ukraine and its dire need for ammunition as the driving force behind the contentious move.
"It was a very difficult decision on my part. And by the way, I discussed this with our allies, I discussed this with our friends up on the Hill," Biden said, underlining the gravity of the situation. "The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition." Biden further added, "This is a war relating to munitions.
And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it. And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period, while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians”.
His comments reflect the distressing reality on the ground - Ukrainian forces, engaged in a desperate struggle against armored opponents, find themselves running dangerously low on resources. "They’re trying to get through those trenches and stop those tanks from rolling.
But it was not an easy decision,” Biden said.
Defending a Decision Amidst International Concerns
Despite concerns about the use of cluster munitions, which many countries have agreed to ban due to their potential for civilian harm, Biden defended his decision, acknowledging the United States isn't a signatory to the relevant international agreement.
He conceded, “it took me a while to be convinced to do it”. “But the main thing is they either have the weapons to stop the Russians now – keep them from stopping the Ukrainian offensive through these areas – or they don’t.
And I think they needed them”.
NATO Membership: A Future Decision
As to the question of Ukraine's potential membership in NATO, Biden believes such a step is premature. He clarified, "I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war." Biden's decision to supply cluster munitions is an indicator of the escalating stakes in the ongoing conflict.
As the situation continues to unfold, these decisive actions are indicative of the grave challenges Ukraine faces, and the lengths the international community may need to go to in response.
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