(GoRealNewsNow.com) – Receiving immediate condemnation worldwide, the Biden administration declared on Friday that it would add cluster bombs to the forthcoming $800 million arms package destined for Ukraine, along with armored vehicles and air defense missiles.
President Joe Biden revealed that he required some persuasion before agreeing to supply the contentious weapons. He emphasized the significance of bolstering Ukraine’s ammunition reserves while maintaining American stocks and engaged in discussions regarding Kyiv’s intended deployment of these bombs.
During an upcoming CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria, Biden remarked, “We’re in a situation where Ukraine continues to be brutally attacked across the board by these cluster munitions with dud rates that are very high.”
The National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, responded to concerns over the humanitarian impact of the disputed cluster bombs, stating the urgency of arming Kyiv with artillery and noting that Ukraine has already suffered from Russia’s cluster bomb usage.
“We recognize that cluster munitions created risk of civilian harm from unexploded ordnance,” Sullivan said during a White House press briefing. “This is why we deferred the decision for as long as we could, but there is also a massive risk of civilian harm if Russian troops and tanks roll over Ukrainian positions and take more Ukrainian territory and subjugate more Ukrainian civilians because Ukraine does not have enough artillery.”
Cluster munitions, designed to strike multiple targets by releasing explosive “bomblets” over a broad area, pose a risk to civilians and unintended targets. Both warring parties are currently using these weapons. Last year, Ukrainian cluster munitions reportedly killed at least eight civilians in Izium, says Human Rights Watch.
On Friday, Colin Kahl, the Undersecretary for Defense Policy at the Pentagon, informed reporters that the U.S. would supply Ukraine with its most advanced cluster munitions, which have a dud rate of less than 2.35 percent. This implies a lower likelihood of the bombs failing upon deployment. Kahl also confirmed that the Pentagon had written confirmation from Kyiv promising not to use the bombs in areas populated by civilians.
Kahl voiced his concern over the humanitarian situation, stating, “I’m as concerned about the humanitarian circumstance as anybody, but the worst thing for civilians in Ukraine is for Russia to win the war.”
Over 100 countries have signed the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions that bans their use, a treaty to which the U.S. is not a party.
“Russia started this unprovoked war against Ukraine,” stated Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “Russia could end it at any time by withdrawing its forces from Ukraine and stopping its brutal attacks against Ukraine’s cities and people. Until Russia does so, the United States and our allies and partners will stand united with Ukraine, for as long as it takes.”
The inclusion of cluster munitions in the U.S. support package follows Kyiv’s persistent requests. The U.S. had shown initial reluctance to supply these weapons due to the potential civilian risks and the rate at which Ukraine has been consuming weaponry.
The U.S. Cluster Munition Coalition, an organization advocating for a complete ban on American cluster bombs, stated on Friday, “Cluster munitions are among the most harmful weapons to civilians, as they disperse bomblets indiscriminately across a wide area that often fail to explode on initial impact, leaving duds that litter communities and endanger civilians, especially children, decades after a conflict ends.”
Sullivan argued that Russia had already distributed tens of millions of these bomblets across Ukrainian territory. He questioned whether Ukraine’s use of cluster bombs on the same land would significantly increase civilian harm, given that demining would be necessary in any case.