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The White House has announced a $800 million aid package for Ukraine. It contains cluster ammunition

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The United States on Friday announced a new $800 million military aid package for Ukraine. Among other things, they will transfer to Kiev, for the first time, DPICM artillery cluster munitions, the State Department announced. “It wasn’t an easy decision,” said President Joe Biden.

The new package – the 42nd since the beginning of the Russian invasion – for the first time includes DPICM, a highly effective artillery ammunition for attacking targets over a wide area, the state department said in a statement. United States have not yet delivered UkraineIn addition, the package includes precision aircraft rockets, ammunition for HIMARS systems, additional 155mm howitzers with ammunition, missiles for air defense systems, anti-tank missiles and Bradley and Stryker armored vehicles.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the decision to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine was not taken lightly, given the potential damage caused by unexploded bombs dispersed by this type of weapon. However, he noted that it was necessary due to dwindling stocks of ordinary artillery ammunition and that cluster munitions will act as a “bridge” until the armaments industry increases production of shells.

White House: US will transfer artillery cluster munitions to UkraineUS ARMY/Reuters/Forum

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Sullivan also pointed out that Russia has been using such missiles since the beginning of the conflict, and allowing Moscow to gain front-line superiority will do more harm to civilians than unexploded ordnance left behind by Ukraine’s cluster munitions.

He also stated that the U.S. cluster munitions that will be transferred to Ukraine have a maximum unexploded count of 2.5 percent, while the Russian one is 30-40 percent. He also said that Kiev had committed in writing to using these weapons in such a way as to minimize civilian casualties. He also noted that after the end of the conflict, Ukraine will have to undergo a thorough process of clearing the battlefields of mines, regardless of the use of cluster munitions.

“It wasn’t an easy decision,” the president said Joe Biden in an interview with CNN. However, he assessed that Kiev needed this ammunition to prevent Russia from stopping the counter-offensive.

What is cluster munitions?

Cluster munitions can be fired from guns and rocket launchers or dropped from aircraft. A single shell contains hundreds of small bombs that can hit targets scattered over large areas.

According to the Pentagon, DPICM (Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition) is particularly effective against entrenched Russian positions. More than 120 countries have banned the use of this ammunition so far.

– What DPICM brings to the battlefield is anti-tank and anti-personnel capabilities. It can be loaded with either shaped charges, which penetrate armor, or fragmentation ammunition, which is anti-personnel. So obviously these are capabilities that would be useful in any type of offensive operation,” Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday.

By shipping cluster munitions, the Biden administration circumvents Congressional regulations that prohibit the export of such weapons if they contain more than 1 percent unexploded ordnance. As the Washington Post reported, the M864 cluster artillery round had an unexploded ordnance rate of 6 percent, twenty years ago, according to the last publicly available assessment. The Pentagon says more recent measurements have yielded better results, and the ministry will carefully select munitions with the lowest number of potential unexploded ordnance. One M864 round contains 72 sub-munitions, which are spread over 22.5 thousand km. square meters.

The relatively high rate of unexploded ordnance, which poses a threat to civilians after the conflict has ended, has contributed to the banning of this type of weaponry by more than 120 countries, most of them NATO countries (though not through Poland). However, this group does not include the USA, Ukraine or Russia. Russia also uses cluster munitions during the current aggression.

According to “WP”, the US has even 4.7 million pieces of artillery shells, rockets and bombs containing a total of 500 million sub-munitions.

Main photo source: US ARMY/Reuters/Forum

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