President Joe Biden proved this Friday the shipment to Ukraine of an arsenal of controversies cluster bombsa weon that is banned in more than 120 countriesand his decision raised strong protests from human rights organizations.
The news, which had emerged on Thursday, was confirmed by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. “I’m not going to stand here and say it’s easy,” the official told reporters.
“It’s a tough decision. It’s a decision we’ve been putting off. It’s a decision that required a really hard look at the potential harm to civilians. And when we put all of that together, there was a unanimous recommendation from the national security team, and President Biden ultimately decided, in consultation with allies and partners and in consultation with members of Congress, to advance this strategy,” he added.
The measure was the result of months of internal debate within the US government on whether or not to supply the controversial munitions that are banned in most countries around the world and came amid concerns about a slow Kiev counteroffensive against entrenched Russian troops and dwindling Western stocks of conventional artillery.
The US decision comes despite the fact that organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) have expressly asked Washington not to supply them.
The danger of these weons
The controversy is because cluster weons explode in midair over a target, releasing dozens or hundreds of smaller submunitions in a wide area that can hit unforeseen targets as civilians. In addition, they remain for years in the ground with potential future damage.
More than 120 countries adhered to a convention that prohibits its use chow inhuman and indiscriminatelargely due to high failure rates with unexploded submunitions endangering both friendly troops and civilians, often for decades after the end of a conflict.
The United States, Ukraine and Russia, which have reportedly used them extensively in Ukraine, are not parties to the convention. Eight of NATO’s 31 members, including the United States, have not ratified the convention. But the United Kingdom, France and Germany have signed it.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorias said on Friday that providing the munitions to Ukraine is “not an option” for Berlin because it is a signatory to the convention.
But he refused to comment on the US decision to do so: “Those countries that have not signed the convention – China, Russia, Ukraine and the United States – it is not for me to comment on their actions.”
Although The United States has used cluster munitions in every major war since Korea.no new weons of this type are believed to have been produced for years.
But up to 4.7 million cluster projectiles, rockets, missiles and bombs, containing more than half a billion submunitions, or bomblets, remain in military inventories, according to Human Rights Watch estimates drawn from Defense Department reports.
The move comes as the Ukrainians are suffering from a decline in their stockpiles of Western-supplied conventional artillery ammunition and as concerns are growing about the slow pace of the Ukrainian counter-offensive against Russian troops in the country’s southeast.
Adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office Mikhailo Podoliak defended the US supply of cluster bombs, saying human rights activists are launching an aggressive lobbying campaign not to expel Russia from the United Nations, but to torpedo the supply of arms to Ukraine.
For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that it is up to each member state of the Alliance, individually, to decide whether to deliver cluster bombs to Ukraine.
consulted by ClarionJoseph Hage, a US political analyst and security expert, said that “the use of cluster bombs in the Ukrainian war is not new, the Russian military has used these bombs since the start of the war in February 2022. United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have confirmed its use by the Russians with credible evidence that they presented to the International Criminal Court.”
He added that “there is also information that the Ukrainian army has used cluster bombs in its arsenal, but only against military objectives, although their use is not justified against those objectives either,” he added.
“The danger of cluster bombs is that the projectile contains mini-bombs that disperse at lightning speed up to 100 to 200 meters. The most dangerous are those that do not explode. They remain like a time bomb exposed and could explode in the future on any further contact with civilians or animals, even after a war ends,” he said.
Alex Crowther, a professor of National Security Studies at the Institute for Strategic Studies and a former adviser to the US government, told Clarion that “these munitions are very effective. Each one deploys mini-bombs over a very large area. For example, they destroy vehicles and fortifications and are very effective against people as well. Therefore, these munitions will give Ukraine another advantage during their counter-offensive, especially when they are attacking Russian fortifications.”
“The only reason why these munitions are controversial is because of the percentage that does not self-destruct and then the battlefield is going to be very dangerous after they are released,” he concluded.