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Biden will meet Zelensky at Nato summit in Lithuania as war with Russia rages on


Joe Biden will meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky at the Nato summit in Lithuania on Wednesday, US officials confirmed to The Independent.

The meeting comes as Mr Biden has expressed doubts in recent days about Ukraine’s long-sought goal of joining the trans-Atlantic alliance.

“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,” he told CNN last week.

The pair last met in May at a G-7 summit in Japan.

Their discussions will likely center on US aid to Ukraine, as well as bigger-picture security guarantees.

So far, the US has sent more than $76bn in aid to the Eastern European nation, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, more than $46bn of which has been military-related.

Most controversially, the US anounced earlier this month it would begin sending cluster munitions to the besieged country as part of an $800m aid package.

The weapon type, a bomb that opens in the air and releases smaller “bomblets” across a wide area, has been criticised for causing high rates of civilian casualties. Dud bombs can remain unexploded for decades, heavily raising the risk of accidental deaths for non-combatants.

The US hasn’t used cluster munitions since the Iraq war in the early 2000s, and more than 120 countries have joined an international convention banning their use.

Ukrainian officials, however, welcomed the development, including Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to the Ukrainian president.

“In the great bloody war which has been ongoing for more than 16 months, and which will predetermine the future of the world … the number of weapons matters. So, weapons, more weapons, and more weapons, including cluster munitions,” he said last week.

The White House has argued it has received “written assurances” Ukraine will use the rounds “in a very careful way that is aimed at minimising any risk to civilians,” according to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Andrew Feinberg contributed reporting to this story.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with new information.


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