Cluster bombs are prohibited in over 100 countries due to civilian risk. They unleash several tiny bomblets that kill randomly.
More than 100 nations have enacted bans on cluster bombs due to the threat they pose to populations. They frequently disperse a large number of tiny bomblets that can kill anyone anywhere.
A number of US allies have voiced concern over Washington’s decision to give Ukraine cluster munitions.
President Joe Biden described it as a “very difficult decision” when the US confirmed on Friday that it was deploying the contentious weaponry to Ukraine.
The United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain all responded by stating their opposition to the employment of weapons.
More than 100 nations have enacted bans on cluster bombs due to the threat they pose to populations.
They frequently disperse a large number of tiny bomblets that can kill anyone anywhere.
The munitions’ failure rate, or “dud” rate, has also generated debate. Bomblets that have not yet detonated can remain on the ground for several years before they explode randomly.
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In an interview with CNN on Friday, Mr. Biden stated that he had discussed the choice with friends. The decision was a component of a military aid package costing $800 million (£626 million).
Since “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition,” the president stated that it had taken him “a while to be convinced to do it,” but he finally did it.
Human rights organizations swiftly criticized the decision, stating that cluster munitions represent “a grave threat to civilian lives, even long after the conflict has ended.”
According to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Russian cluster bombs used in the fighting failed much more frequently than the American cluster bombs that are being provided to Ukraine.
However, several of the US’s Western allies declined to support its choice on Saturday.
When questioned about his opinion of the US decision, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak noted that his country was one of 123 nations that had ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which forbids the manufacture or use of the weapons and discourages their use.
Before a meeting with President Biden, who is scheduled to come to the UK on Sunday before a NATO conference in Lithuania, he made these remarks.
According to remarks made by the prime minister of New Zealand, one of the nations that advocated for the adoption of the agreement, he went further than Mr. Sunak.
According to Chris Hipkins, the weapons are “indiscriminate; they potentially cause enormous damage to innocent people, and they can also have a long-lasting effect.” He claimed that New Zealand’s opposition to the use of cluster bombs in Ukraine had been communicated to the White House.
According to Spain’s Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, her nation has a “firm commitment” that certain weapons and munitions cannot be transferred to Ukraine.
“No to cluster bombs and yes to the legitimate defense of Ukraine, which we understand should not be carried out with cluster bombs,” she remarked.
The explosives, which may go years without detonating, have the potential to have a negative effect on youngsters, according to the Canadian government.
In addition, Canada said that it was opposed to the use of cluster bombs and that it continued to adhere strictly to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It issued a statement saying, “We take seriously our obligation under the convention to encourage its universal adoption.”
While both Moscow and Kyiv employed cluster bombs during the conflict, the US, Ukraine, and Russia have not ratified the agreement.
Germany, a treaty signatory, stated that while it would not give Ukraine such weapons, it understood the American stance.
German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin, “We’re certain that our US friends didn’t take the decision about supplying such ammunition lightly.”
The cluster bombs will only be used to breach enemy defense lines and not in populated areas, the Ukrainian defense minister has promised.
By doing this, Mr. Biden will circumvent US legislation that forbids the manufacture, use, or transfer of cluster munitions with a failure rate greater than 1%.
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Mr. Sullivan, one of the US national security advisers, told reporters that whereas Russian cluster bombs have a failure rate between 30 and 40%, US cluster bombs have a failure rate of less than 2.5%.
The US Cluster Munition Coalition declared that the weapons will result in “greater suffering, today and for decades to come,” as part of an international civil society drive to banish them.
A representative of the UN human rights office expressed criticism as well, saying that “the use of such munitions should cease immediately and not be used in any place.”
The action was characterized as an “act of desperation” and “evidence of impotence in the face of the failure of the much-publicized Ukrainian “counter-offensive”” by a spokesperson for Russia’s defense ministry.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, added that Ukraine’s promises to deploy cluster munitions responsibly were “worthless.”
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has repeatedly said that the US and its allies are waging a growing proxy war in Ukraine.
The eastern Donetsk and southern Zaporizhzhia regions are seeing continued progress in the counteroffensive against Ukraine, which started last month.
The campaign has reportedly stalled due to a lack of adequate firepower, according to Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s military commander in chief. He voiced disappointment over the West’s tardy delivery of promised weapons.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, thanked Biden for providing “a timely, broad, and much-needed” military aid package.