Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey denies supplying Kyiv with cluster munitions
A senior Turkish official has strongly denied reports alleging that Ankara delivered cluster bombs to Ukraine last year.
"We don't have cluster munitions and we haven't provided them to Ukraine," Ibrahim Kalin, the Turkish president's spokesperson, said on Saturday in a briefing with reporters.
"Ukrainians themselves denied it."
US magazine Foreign Policy reported on Tuesday that Turkey began sending Ukraine a form of US-designed cluster bomb in late 2022, citing former US and European officials familiar with the decision.
It said that Kyiv had been pleading with the Biden administration for the munitions for months.
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"The NATO ally began sending the first batches of so-called dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICMs) in November 2022, which were made during the Cold War era under a co-production agreement with the United States," the report added.
'We don't have cluster munitions and we haven't provided them to Ukraine.'
- Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish president's spokesperson
The production and use of cluster munitions are prohibited under international law.
On Wednesday, Ukraine's ambassador to Ankara Vasyl Bodnar denied the report and said he believed it was part of a "Russian propaganda machine".
"I fully deny it, it is not true," Bodnar told the semi-official Turkish news agency Anadolu.
"The information was specifically constructed as psychological warfare, just to undermine the relationship between Ukraine and Turkey and try to create the wrong image of Ukraine and Turkey."
Ankara and Kyiv have enjoyed close defence industry cooperation, a relationship that has flourished in recent years.
The Bayraktar TB2 armed drones producer Baykar, which has close links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's family, was building a plant in Ukraine before the war.
Ukrainian companies also produce Bayraktar's engines, and Turkey has sold dozens of TB2s to Kyiv over the course of the past two years.
Frequent flights recorded between Turkey and Poland between February and April 2022 indicate that Ankara continued to deliver TB2s and its MAM-L munition to Kyiv since the Russian invasion began.
Sources told Middle East Eye last year that Turkey also delivered dozens of TRLG-230 precision-guided missiles to Ukraine last summer.
Ankara has maintained open dialogue with both Kyiv and Moscow since the start of the war in the hopes of mediating an end to the conflict.
On Saturday, Turkey said it was ready to push for local ceasefires in Ukraine, saying that neither side of the conflict had the military means to "win the war".
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