US President Joe Biden met this Monday, July 10, in London with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with whom he discussed Ukraine’s possible accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Washington’s controversial announcement to supply cluster bombs to Kiev. The meeting took place ahead of the Alliance summit, which begins on Tuesday in Vilnius, Lithuania, and which is expected to be marked by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The eventual membership of Ukraine to NATO marks the discussions ahead of the Alliance summit, but that scenario is far from materializing.
Prior to the meeting, which will take place between Tuesday, July 11, and Wednesday, July 12, in Vilnius, Lithuania, United States President Joe Biden made a stop in London on Monday, where he met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles. III.
In their brief meeting, Biden and Sunak discussed the possible entry of kyiv into NATO; the controversial US decision to supply cluster bombs to the Ukrainian Army and political negotiations in Northern Ireland. An issue in which Biden has shown special interest by citing his Irish ancestry.
“Relations between the United States and the United Kingdom are solid as a rock,” Biden said at the beginning of the meeting..
However, Ukraine is without a doubt the topic that attracts the most attention. According to Downing Street sources quoted by Reuters, Sunak put on the table that he wants to discuss with the allies a way for kyiv to join NATO.
“We want to work with the United States and our allies on the way for Ukraine to unite,” said the spokesman for the British premier shortly before the meeting with Biden.
But the main question is when that eventual accession would take place. This is where the main differences between kyiv and its Western allies converge, despite the promises of support, since they would last over time.
Washington and London maintain that their eventual entry must occur after the ongoing conflict is over.
In a recent interview with the US chain ”, the leader of the White House assured that Ukraine is not yet ready to integrate the political-military organization and reiterated that this step must be taken once the invasion is over.
“I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO on whether or not to include Ukraine in the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war (…) For example, if you did that, then, you know, and I say it seriously, we are determined to compromise every inch of territory that is NATO territory. It’s a commitment we’ve all made no matter what. If the war continues, then we are all at war. We are at war with Russia, if that were the case,” Biden said.
Article 5 of NATO states that if a member state is attacked, all the nations that are part of the organization must respond jointly in their defense.which prompts most Member States to take a step back when it comes to a membership for kyiv in the short term.
The British spokesman agreed on Monday, assuring that it would not be appropriate for Ukraine to join NATO when it is in the middle of a conflict, although Sunak believes that Ukraine’s “legitimate place” is within the Alliance.
Zelensky, for his part, has called for that membership since before the biggest conflict on European soil in decades began and with greater urgency now in the midst of the invasion.
No guarantees would emerge from this NATO summit for Kiev’s adherence to the Alliance led by the United States, at least not in the short term, despite the efforts of President Volodimir Zelenski, who in recent days has undertaken a tour of Europe to ask for “concrete” steps in that direction.
Following his meeting with Sunak, Biden – who did not attend the king’s coronation last May, following the long-standing practice of US presidents – headed to Windsor Castle to meet King Charles III, with whom he discussed the fight. against climate change. A cause for which the monarch has campaigned for more than five decades.
Biden Defends Supplying Cluster Bombs To Ukraine; Sunak rejects him
The recent announcement by the leader of the first power to supply cluster bombs to the country invaded by Russia was also at the center of the debate in London.
Sunak reminded Biden that the UK is a signatory to the international convention discouraging the use of cluster munitions, but each country must make its own decision on how the weapons are used.
“We comply with our obligations under the convention, which include discouraging its use. There is no change on our part in this regard, obviously it is up to each country to make a decision,” Sunak’s spokesperson told reporters.
Biden, for his part, acknowledged that providing such ammunition was a “difficult decision.” However, he pointed out that the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition and that the weapons were needed for them to continue fighting the Russian forces.
“It took me a while to convince myself to do it (…) But the main thing is that either they have the weapons to prevent the Russians from stopping the Ukrainian offensive in these areas, or they don’t. And I think they needed them,” Biden said during the interview with ”.
President Biden tells it was a “difficult decision” to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, but that he was ultimately convinced to send the controversial weapons because Kyiv needs ammunition in its counteroffensive against Russia. https://t.co/7phXlFv6Jt pic.twitter.com/z8pNDcWCfj
— Politics (@Politics) July 7, 2023
The decision is controversial as it deals with devices prohibited by 120 countries, due to their high danger. It is a type of weapon that fragments in the air and releases multiple explosive submunitions or “bombs” over a wide area. They can be launched by planes, artillery and missiles. Anyone in that area can be killed or seriously injured.
London distances itself from its great ally in that measure, while the United States, which is not party to the convention on cluster munitions, continues with its controversial endorsement of kyiv.
With Reuters, AP and local media