President Biden will announce a new weapons package for Ukraine when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Washington on Thursday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Sources told Reuters that the package will be worth $325 million and is expected to include the second tranche of widely-banned cluster bombs in the form of 155mm artillery shells. The US began providing Ukraine with cluster munitions in July despite their history of killing and maiming civilians.
The cluster munitions the US is providing Ukraine are packed with 72 submunitions, known as bomblets, that are scattered over a large area. Cluster bombs are so hazardous to civilians because many of the submunitions do not explode on impact, and can be found years or decades later.
Due to their indiscriminate nature, cluster bombs are banned by over 100 countries by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but the US, Ukraine, and Russia are not signatories to the treaty.
A US official also told Reuters that the new weapons package will not include Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which can be fired from the HIMARS rocket systems and have a range of up to 190 miles. ATACMS have been long sought by Ukraine, and recent media reports said they could be soon on their way, but the White House said this week no decision has been made.
Providing ATACMS would mark a significant escalation of US support for Ukraine as they could potentially hit targets inside Russia. When asked earlier this month about Ukraine using ATACMS to target Russian territory, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said targeting decisions are up to Ukraine.
Other weapons expected to be in the new arms package include Avenger short-range air defense systems, HIMARS ammunition, TOW and AT-4 anti-tank weapons, and Javelin anti-tank missiles.