Despite the fact that cluster bombs have a history of murdering civilians, US Vice President Joe Biden has justified his “very difficult decision” to supply Ukraine with them.
According to the president, it took him “a moment to be persuaded to do it,” but he finally did it because “the Ukrainians had run out of weaponry.”
The president of Ukraine praised the “timely” action, but a Moscow ambassador criticized Washington’s “cynicism.”
In an interview on Friday, Mr. Biden stated that he had discussed the choice with allies in advance of the Nato summit in Lithuania the following week.
At Friday’s daily White House briefing, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that authorities “recognize the cluster weapons create a danger of civilian death” from errant bombings. This is the reason we postponed the choice for as long as we would. According to Mr. Sullivan, Ukraine’s supply of weaponry was running low, and it needed “a crossing of supplies” until the US increased the country’s manufacturing.
He declared that they would never abandon Kyiv as it was vulnerable during this terrible time period.
The weapons’ failure rate, or “dud” rate, has generated criticism because it means that unexploded tiny bombs can stay on the ground for years before indiscriminately detonating later. The American cluster bombs being deployed to Ukraine, according to Mr. Sullivan, are much safer than those already being used by Russia in the fight.
When the White House was questioned early in the conflict about claims that Russia was employing cluster and vacuum explosives, the press secretary at the time responded that it might constitute a “war crime” if accurate.
The UN human rights office representative Marta Hurtado stated on Friday that the use of such weapons “should terminate immediately and not be authorized in any region.”
The ambassador of Russia to the US criticized Mr. Biden’s choice.
According to Anatoly Antonov, quoted by Tass news agency, “The savagery and duplicity with which Washington is handling the issue of delivering deadly arsenals to Kyiv is startling.”
“Now, through no error of the US, there will be a danger for many years that civilians who are innocent could be blown up by submunitions that have detonated.”
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has repeatedly said that the US and its allies are waging a growing proxy war in Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, thanked the United States president for providing “a promptly, broad and much-needed” military aid package of $800 million (£626 million).
It would, he wrote in a tweet, “bring Kyiv closer to winning over the foe, and independence to triumph over authoritarianism.”
Biden’s Partnership with Allies:
Allies didn’t immediately reject Mr. Biden’s strategy.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, stated that the military alliance has no official position on the use of cluster bombs.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions has been ratified by more than 120 nations, who have pledged not to use, manufacture, transfer, or store such weapons. The agreement is not a party to the US, Ukraine, or Russia.
Germany, which is a signatory to the prohibition pact, stated that while it would not give such bombs to Ukraine, it did acknowledge American concerns.
German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin, “We’re sure that our US allies didn’t take their choices about providing such weaponry hastily.”