The U.S. Department of Defense said one of the main reasons the U.S. provides cluster munitions to Ukraine is to help them break through Russian defensive lines, as the counteroffensive “will a little slower than some had hoped”.
“We want to make sure the Ukrainians have enough artillery to keep them in the fight against the backdrop of the current counteroffensive,” Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said during a briefing. Press. “And because things are going a little slower than some had hoped, there is very high artillery spending.”
Kahl said the ammunition would be delivered to Ukraine “within a timeframe relevant to the counteroffensive.”
Kahl also said the supply of cluster munitions is also an important signal to Russia that “the Ukrainians are going to stay in the game.”
“(Russian President) Vladimir Putin has a victory theory, okay? His theory of victory is that he will outlive everyone,” Kahl said. “That’s why President (Joe) Biden has made it clear that we will stay with Ukraine for as long as it takes, and that’s why we signal that we will continue to provide Ukraine with the capabilities that will keep it going. in the fight.”
Responding to humanitarian concerns over cluster munitions, Kahl said “the worst thing for civilians in Ukraine is for Russia to win the war, and so it’s important that they don’t.”
Status of the counter-offensive: The Ukrainian military has so far failed to make major gains in the early stages of its counteroffensive, documenting incremental advances on the frontlines.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he wants to be strategic about where troops are sent.
“Every meter, every kilometer costs lives,” he said earlier this month. “You can do something really fast, but the field is mined to the ground. People are our treasure. This is why we are very careful.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, also said the pace was not surprising, given that Russia has had time to build up its defenses and “Ukrainian soldiers are attacking at through minefields and in trenches”.
“So yeah, sure, it’s going a little slow, but that’s part of the nature of warfare,” Milley said.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová contributed to this post.