NATO accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in Ukraine

BRUSSELS – NATO officials, determined to show a unified front of support for Ukraine, on Friday accused Russia of using cluster bombs du...

BRUSSELS – NATO officials, determined to show a unified front of support for Ukraine, on Friday accused Russia of using cluster bombs during its invasion, but rejected Kiev’s call to impose a no-fly zone over Ukrainian airspace, fearing it would attract the military alliance. in a larger war with russia.

Dozens of protesters waving Ukrainian flags chanted “NATO, act now!” outside the alliance’s headquarters as its foreign ministers met in a special session aimed at helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s growing invasion. The ministers also met in sessions organized by the European Union and the Group of 7.

At NATO Headquarters, ministers heard a plea from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba for more military assistance than NATO has so far been willing to provide.

“Help us,” Mr. Kuleba pleaded in a video that was posted on Twitter. “If you don’t, I fear you will have to share responsibility for the lives and suffering of civilian Ukrainians, who are dying because of ruthless Russian pilots throwing bombs at them.”

Shortly after, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that Russia had attacked Ukraine with anti-personnel cluster bombs, which kill so indiscriminately that they are prohibited by international law.

But he rejected Mr Kuleba’s call for a no-fly zone. “The allies agree that we should not have NATO aircraft operating over Ukrainian airspace or NATO troops on Ukrainian territory,” he said.

Cluster bombs can be dropped from aircraft or launched from rockets. Enforcing a no-fly zone usually requires warplanes to patrol the airspace, with troops below to identify and report violations.

The day of NATO, EU and G7 foreign ministers’ meetings was touted as a show of Western unity in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Even Liz Truss, the British Foreign Secretary, put Brexit aside preaching “complete unity” at the EU meeting, which US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken also attended.

“We are facing together what is President Putin’s war of choice – unprovoked, unwarranted,” Blinken told reporters ahead of the meeting. “We are committed to doing everything we can to stop this. Coordination between us is therefore vital.

The crisis has reminded Europeans how much they depend on the United States for leadership and military strength, as well as on the nuclear umbrella that serves as the most important deterrent against countries like Russia, China or even the United States. ‘Iran.

And if the European Union, under French presidency, was irritated by America’s leading role at the start of the crisis, President Biden and Mr. Blinken went to great lengths to inform and consult the Brussels institutions as well as the Member States.

But as the crisis unfolded, Washington provided compelling intelligence to its allies and organized the response. He brought the European Union, Britain, Canada and Australia on a tough economic sanctions package and was quick to start supplying arms to Ukraine and moving troops and equipment to bolster Allied forces along NATO’s eastern flank.

“While we need to stay focused on Ukraine’s sovereignty and bringing Ukrainians back to safety, I believe Putin’s war will also elevate America’s global standing,” he added. writes Kori Schake, a former US defense official. “Indeed, it has already cemented America’s position at the center of the international order it created out of the ashes of World War II.”

Other countries have also played a key role, with France volunteering to lead a new NATO battalion in Romania and Germany mothballing Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline linking Russia to Western Europe. , and authorizing the export of arms to Ukraine. The European Union, too, has pledged to “Europeanise” the efforts of many of its 27 member states – 21 of which belong to NATO – and promised for the first time to reimburse them for weapons sent to the EU. ‘Ukraine.

Whether more weapons should have been sent to Ukraine during the long build-up to war remains an open question, but NATO officials feared that an open display of supplied weapons could provoke Russia rather than deterring it.

With weapons and supplies flowing in from Poland and other neighboring countries in western Ukraine, there are fears that Russia will move in to block or bomb convoys and there could be accidental clashes with NATO aircraft.

Mr Blinken’s visit was largely aimed at keeping the European Union in step with the Western pace of economic sanctions – with perhaps more to come – to punish President Vladimir V. Putin’s government and its allies.

He also rallied allies to send more humanitarian support to aid workers in Ukraine and its neighboring states, including Poland and Moldova, where he will hold meetings on Saturday. More than a million refugees have fled Ukraine in the past week, and at least 100,000 others who remain in Ukraine have been forced from their homes in the fighting.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said Russia had shelled and shelled homes, schools and hospitals.

“It’s a barbaric way to wage war,” Borrell said.

Mr. Stoltenberg said that in addition to cluster bombs, Russia has used other weapons banned in Ukraine.

“We have seen the use of cluster bombs, and we have seen reports of the use of other types of weapons that would be in violation of international law,” he said. He did not specify any other type of weapon.

Anti-personnel cluster munitions are rockets, missiles, artillery shells and bombs that deploy large numbers of small explosives over a wide area, intended to attack infantry formations. The Convention on Cluster Munitions, a treaty banning these weapons, entered into force in August 2010.

NATO forces used cluster bombs during the 1999 Kosovo war, and the United States dropped more than 1,000 cluster bombs in Afghanistan from October 2001 to March 2002, according to a Human Rights report Watch.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NATO accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in Ukraine
NATO accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in Ukraine
Newsrust - US Top News
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