NewsWhat are they, who uses them and why does Biden decide to...

    What are they, who uses them and why does Biden decide to send them now?

    The United States has decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help kyiv troops push back entrenched Russian forces on the front lines.

    The government of President Joe Biden announced this Friday the shipment of thousands of these bombs as part of a new military aid package worth $800 million, according to people familiar with the decision who were not authorized to discuss it publicly before the official announcement and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    The measure is likely spark outrage from some US allies and from humanitarian groups that have long opposed the use of cluster bombs.

    A cluster bomb embedded in the pavement, on a street in Ukraine, unexploded. Photo: Anatoly Stepanov / AFP

    Proponents of the decision argue that Russia has already been using the controversial weon in Ukraine, and that munitions to be provided by the United States have a low failure rate meaning there will be far fewer unexploded rounds that could lead to unwanted civilian deaths.

    Here’s a look at what are cluster munitions, where have they been used and why the United States plans to provide them to Ukraine now.

    What is a cluster bomb?

    A cluster munition is a bomb that opens in the air and releases submunitions (or bomblets) over a wide area. The pumps are designed to remove tanks and ammunitionas well as soldiers, by achieving multiple goals at the same time.

    A defused cluster bomb shell in Ukraine.  Photo: Reuters

    A defused cluster bomb shell in Ukraine. Photo: Reuters

    The munitions are delivered with the same artillery pieces that the United States and its allies have already provided Ukraine for warfare, such as howitzers, and the type of cluster munition the United States plans to send is based on a common 155mm projectile which is widely used on the battlefield.

    In previous conflicts, cluster munitions have had a high failure ratewhich means that thousands of unexploded submunitions were left behind and killed or maimed people decades later.

    The United States last used its cluster munitions in a battle in Iraq in 2003and decided not to continue using them as the conflict moved to more urban settings with denser civilian populations.

    On Thursday, Brigadier General Pat Ryder said the US Department of Defense has “multiple variants” of ammunition and “those that we are considering providing will not include older variants with rates (of unexploded submunitions) higher than 2.35%”.

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    Why provide them now?

    For more than a year, the United States has been dipping into its own stockpiles of traditional 155mm howitzer ammunition and sending more than 2 million cartridges to Ukraine. Its allies in other parts of the world have provided hundreds of thousands more.

    A 155mm shell can hit targets at a distance of 24 to 32 kilometers, making them the ammunition of choice for Ukrainian ground troops attempting to hit enemy targets from a distance. Ukrainian forces they’re firing thousands of rounds a day in his fight against the Russians.

    The skeleton of a cluster bomb lies in a field in the Ukrainian village of Hrakove.  Photo: AP

    The skeleton of a cluster bomb lies in a field in the Ukrainian village of Hrakove. Photo: AP

    Yehor Cherniev, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, told reporters at a German Marshall Fund event in the United States a few months ago that kyiv would probably need to fire between 7,000 and 9,000 rounds daily in his counteroffensive. This shows that there is a lot of pressure on the reserves of the United States and its allies.

    cluster bomb is an attractive option because it would help Ukraine to destroy more targets with fewer projectilesand since the United States has not used them in a conflict since Iraq, has large amounts stored which you can quickly access, said Ryan Brobst, a research analyst with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

    A March 2023 letter from House and Senate Republican leaders to the Biden administration notes that the United States could have up to 3 million cluster munitions available for their use, and urged the White House to send them to relieve pressure on US war supplies.

    “Cluster munitions are more effective than unitary artillery projectiles because deal damage in a wider areaBrobst said. “This is important for Ukraine as it tries to clear heavily fortified Russian positions.”

    Harnessing US stockpiles of cluster munitions could help solve shell shortage in Ukraine and relieve pressure on 155mm ammunition stockpiles in the United States and elsewhere, according to Brobst.

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    Is using them a war crime?

    The use of cluster bombs itself does not violate international law, but using them against civilians can be a violation. As with any attack, determining a war crime requires analyzing whether the target was legitimate and whether precautions were taken to avoid civilian casualties.

    “However, the part of international law in which this begins to play (a role) are indiscriminate attacks against civilians”Mark Hiznay, associate arms director at Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press. “So that’s not necessarily related to the weons, but to the way they are used.”

    More than 120 countries have joined a convention banning the use of cluster bombs, agreeing not to use, produce, transfer or store them, and to dispose of them after they have been used. United States, Russia and Ukraine they are not signatories of such a convention.

    Where have they been used?

    The bombs have been deployed in many recent conflictsincluding by US forces.

    The United States initially considered cluster bombs an integral part of its arsenal during the invasion of Afghanistan that began in 2001, according to HRW. The group estimated that the US-led coalition dropped more than 1,500 cluster bombs in Afghanistan during the first three years of the conflict.

    The Department of Defense planned by 2019 to stop using any cluster munitions that had an unexploded submunition rate greater than 1%. But the government of Donald Trump revoked that policyallowing commanders to prove the use of such munitions.

    Bombs have been deployed in many recent conflicts.  Photo: Reuters

    Bombs have been deployed in many recent conflicts. Photo: Reuters

    Syrian government forces often used cluster munitions —Supplied by Russia— against opposition strongholds during that country’s civil war, frequently hitting targets and civilian infrastructure. Photos of children hit by these weons are impossible to publish due to the grhic content of the images.

    AND Israel used them in civilian areas in southern Lebanon, including during the 1982 invasion.

    During Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in 2006, HRW and the United Nations accused Israel of using up to 4 million cluster munitions in Lebanon. All that left behind unexploded ordnance that remain a risk for Lebanese civilians to this day.

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    The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has come under fire for using cluster bombs in its war against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which have devastated the small Arab nation.

    In 2017 Yemen was the second country with the most deaths from cluster munitions after Syria, according to the United Nations. children have died or have been mutilated long after the ammunition originally fell, making it difficult to know the true balance.

    During the 1980s, the russians used large scale cluster bombs during their 10-year invasion of Afghanistan. As a result of decades of war, rural Afghanistan remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

    What hpens in Ukraine?

    The Russian forces have used cluster bombs in Ukraine on some occasions, according to senior Ukrainian government officials, experts and humanitarian groups. And human rights groups have said that Ukraine He has also made use of these types of weons.

    In the early days of the war there were repeated episodes with Russian cluster bombs, according to groups including Human Rights Watch, including one that hit near a kindergarten in the city of Ojtirka, in the northeast of the country. Bellingcat, an open-source intelligence group, said its researchers found that cluster bombs were used in that attack, as well as several offensives in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.

    As recently as March, a wave of missiles and drones hit some urban areas, including a sustained shelling in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region. A short distance west of there, artillery and missile strikes hit the town of Kostiantynivka, and AP journalists in the town saw that at least four injured people were taken to a local hospital. Police claimed that Russian forces attacked the town with S-300 missiles and cluster munitions.

    A month later, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko accused Russian forces of attacking the town with cluster munitions, injuring one person. An AP/Frontline database called War Crimes Watch Ukraine has cataloged how Russia has used cluster bombs.

    The authors of this note are Associated Press journalists

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    Source: Clarin

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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