The head of NATO has rejected Ukrainian requests for it to be supplied with controversial phosphorous weapons and outlawed cluster bombs.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the NATO military alliance, has publicly rejected calls for the group to hand over cluster bombs and phosphorous-based incendiary weapons to Ukraine.
It comes after Olexander Kubrakov, a senior official within the Ukrainian government, called for Western powers to give his country the controversial weapons while speaking at the Munich Security Conference earlier this week.
While cluster bombs in particular have been banned by an international treaty since 2008, the Ukrainian official argued that — as Ukraine had not signed the treaty banning the weapon — that there would be no problem if it were handed the weapons to use against the Russian invaders.
According to a report by the dpa news agency however, Stoltenberg insisted that no such weapons would be handed over to the Volodymyr Zelensky administration.
“NATO has neither recommended nor supplied these kinds of weapons,” he reportedly said while attending the Munich conference on Saturday. “We supply artillery and other types of weapons, but not cluster bombs.”
Others have meanwhile condemned the demands for the highly controversial weapons, with the request for cluster bombs, in particular, drawing the ire of many officials.
However, Kubrakov has since defended the request, saying that there are “no obstacles” legally speaking to the handover of the weapons, which he insists will “only” be used “against the armed forces of the Russian Federation”.
Although these newest additions to Ukraine’s weaponry wish list appear to have upset some, it appears relatively certain that the country will continue receiving large reserves of weapons and ammunition from Western nations.
Even while refusing the country’s request for banned cluster bombs, Stoltenberg insisted that munitions should keep being sent to the Kyiv government, and that NATO should not fear the possibility of Russian retaliation.
“The biggest risk of all is if Putin wins,” he alleged.
Another official, Josep Borrell of the European Union, told the Munich Security Conference that he was afraid that ammunition was not being sent to Ukraine fast enough, risking the viability of the country’s defence.
“We are in urgent war mode,” he told the conference on Sunday, adding that if current trends continue, the war will soon be “over” with Ukraine unable to fight.
“This shortage of ammunition has to be solved quickly; it is a matter of weeks,” he said. “We have to increase and accelerate our military support.”