President Joe Biden announced that he will send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help his Army repel entrenched Russian forces along the front lines. This shipment will be framed as part of a new military aid package. The controversial move sparked outrage among some allies and humanitarian groups, which have long opposed the use of cluster bombs. For his part, Bien said it was a “difficult” decision.
The Joe Biden Administration will provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed on Friday, vowing that the United States will not leave Ukraine defenseless. kyiv has vowed to use these controversial bombs carefully, and Washington insists it will only send the devices with a lower failure rate. The shipment will be part of a new package of offensive aid to the country invaded by Russia.
Biden said this Friday during an interview on ‘CNN’, after the announcement, that the decision to send cluster bombs was “difficult” but necessary since “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.”
The news came on the eve of the NATO meeting in Lithuania, which will take place between July 11 and 12 in the capital, Vilnius, and where the US president It will likely face questions from allies about why the United States would send a weapon to Ukraine that more than two-thirds of Atlantic Alliance members have banned because of its record of causing mass civilian casualties.
Within the North American nation, the reaction after the announcement offered by the White House was divided: some Democrats criticized the plan while some Republicans supported it and applauded the measure.
For its part, the European Union will allocate five hundred million euros to support the production of ammunition and speed up urgent deliveries to Ukraine. This as part of a joint effort to strengthen kyiv’s defense and assist in the counteroffensive against Moscow forces.
The decision to strengthen Ukraine’s defense capability comes in response to a request from President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has called for military aid including ammunition, fighter jets and long-range missiles. All this after the intensification of the conflict, which has led to a greater demand from kyiv to its Western partners, and which has also reiterated the need to continue receiving artillery shells.
A timely, broad and much-needed defense aid package from the United States. We are grateful to the American people and President Joseph Biden @POTUS for decisive steps that bring Ukraine closer to victory over the enemy, and democracy to victory over dictatorship. The expansion…
— Volodimir Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) July 7, 2023
“A timely, comprehensive and much-needed defense aid package from the United States. We are grateful to the American people and President Joseph Biden for the decisive steps that bring Ukraine closer to victory over the enemy and democracy closer to victory over the dictatorship. The expansion of Ukraine’s defense capabilities will provide new tools to vacate our land and bring peace closer,” Zelensky said on Twitter after hearing the news that his army will continue to receive offensive military assistance from Washington.
What are cluster bombs?
Cluster munitions are air-opening bombs that release small “submunitions” over a large area of ground. These bombs are used to attack tanks, equipment, and troops, hitting multiple targets at the same time.
Although its use has raised concerns in terms of violations of International Humanitarian Law, it is argued that munitions of this type to be provided by the United States have a reduced misfire rate.
The last large-scale use of these bombs by the United States was during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
However, they were considered a key weapon by US forces during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, according to Human Rights Watch. In the first three years of that conflict, it is estimated that the US-led coalition dropped more than 1,500 cluster bombs in that country.
Since then, more than 120 countries have signed a convention banning the use of cluster bombs, but the United States, Russia and Ukraine are not among them.
On the ground, 500 days after the start of the Russian invasion, it has been marked by the use of these controversial munitions by both Russian and Ukrainian forces. Some attacks that have affected civilian areas, raising concerns about the humanitarian consequences.
The reactions of the international community
So far, reactions from Western allies have been subdued following the White House announcement. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed on Friday that the Atlantic Alliance does not take a joint position on cluster munitions and that it is a decision for individual member states to make. For its part, Germany, which signed the ban treaty, said it would not provide the bombs to Ukraine, but showed understanding of the US position.
Also organizations like Human Rights Watch They expressed their disapproval of the decision: “Cluster munitions used by Russia and Ukraine are killing civilians now and will continue to do so for many years to come,” said Mary Wareham, the organization’s acting arms director. “Both sides should immediately stop using them and not try to get more of these indiscriminate weapons,” she added.
This decision by the United States and the European Union to provide military support to Ukraine marks an important step in defending the country against Russian aggression. The international community is closely following these developments and hopes that this joint action will provide a significant step forward in Ukraine’s efforts to resist and regain its sovereignty.
With information from AP, EFE and Reuters
Source: France 24