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Biden Administration To Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

July 7, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Biden Administration announced today that it has decided to send cluster munitions to the Kyiv regime in its next arms package. “We recognize that cluster munitions create a risk of civilian harm from unexploded ordnance,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House today.

“This is why we’ve deferred the decision for as long as we could.” But, he claimed, “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.”

“Ukraine has provided written assurances that it is going to use these in a very careful way” to minimize risks to civilians, Sullivan said. He clearly did not acknowledge that last summer, Ukrainian forces scattered thousands of so-called petal mines all over civilian areas of Donetsk, which have killed several people, and maimed over 100.

Cluster munitions are banned by international conventions signed by 120 countries—but not the U.S., Ukraine or Russia. The Associated Press reported earlier in the day that Germany “opposes” giving cluster munitions to Ukraine. Both Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius are quoted saying that Germany will not do this, due to its having banned cluster munitions, but it is the business of the United States as to whether it does so.

The Arms Control Association issued a strongly worded statement opposing the supply of cluster munitions to the Kyiv regime, yesterday, in response to news reports indicating that the decision was coming. ACA executive director Daryl Kimball said that sending cluster bombs to Ukraine “would be escalatory, counterproductive, and only further increase the dangers to civilians caught in combat zones and those who will, someday, return to their cities, towns, and farms.”

“Some U.S. officials claim that these weapons ‘would be useful’ against mass formations of troops and armor or broad targets, such as airfields, and that they would allow Ukraine to concentrate their use of unitary warheads against higher-value Russian targets,” said Kimball.

“The reality is more complicated,” he continued. “Cluster munitions will not differentiate a Ukrainian soldier from a Russian one. The effectiveness of cluster munitions is significantly oversold and the impact on noncombatants is widely acknowledged, but too often overlooked.”

Kimball remarked that “the limited military utility and the substantial humanitarian dangers of cluster munitions are among the key reasons why the Defense Department halted using them in Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003, and has chosen to invest in alternative munitions.”

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