Ukrainian officials and politicians have been appealing to the Americans for months to supply the Ukrainian army with cluster munitions. CNN reported on Thursday that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden was considering providing Kiev with such ammunition.
Ukrainian officials and politicians have appealed in recent months to the American leader and members of Congress to provide the Ukrainian army with cluster munitions – weapons banned in more than 100 countries, which during war in Ukraine both sides use it, CNN reported.
The US is considering transferring cluster munitions to Ukraine
Top officials in the Biden administration have been considering Ukrainian appeals for months and so far they have not been rejected, the American station reported. “This option has not been waived and may be used if stocks of other munitions begin to run dangerously low. Sources say the proposal has not yet been seriously considered, in large part due to statutory restrictions that Congress has placed on transfers of cluster munitions.” she explained to CNN.
These restrictions apply to munitions with an unexploded rate of more than one percent, which poses the prospect of a long-term threat to the civilian population. President Joe Biden could circumvent them, but the administration made it clear to the Ukrainians that this is unlikely in the near future, the station noted.
Senior U.S. officials have publicly stated that they plan to give the Ukrainians the support they need to give them an edge at the negotiating table with Russia should negotiations finally come to fruition. Stocks of Western military equipment are not unlimited and due to their depletion, the Ukrainians point out, cluster munitions warehouses could be used.
What is cluster munitions
Cluster munitions could solve Ukraine’s two main problems: the need for more ammunition for artillery and missile systems provided by United States and other countries, and the need to overcome Russia’s numerical superiority in artillery.
“The U.S. concerns about possible collateral damage, but we want to use these munitions against the Russian military, not civilians,” a Ukrainian official told CNN.
Cluster munitions are imprecise by design and spread smaller projectiles over large areas that may fail to explode on impact and pose a long-term hazard similar to mines.
Neither the United States nor Ukraine are signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use, manufacture and stockpiling of such bombs due to the potential risk to non-combatants.
The US began recalling them in 2016 because they “contained hundreds of smaller explosives that often remained unexploded on the battlefield, posing a threat to civilians,” a 2017 Central Command statement said.
Main photo source: HRW