The decision was made based on the belief that Ukraine’s need for assistance outweighed the potential risks associated with cluster bombs. The White House has given its approval for the shipment of cluster bombs to Kyiv, Ukraine, despite concerns about the indiscriminate nature of these weapons. The decision was made on the basis that Ukraine’s urgent requirements outweighed the potential risks associated with the use of cluster bombs.
The Biden administration has approved the drawdown of U.S. cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite their widespread condemnation and prohibition by more than 120 countries. Cluster munitions are highly dangerous weapons that can cause significant harm to civilians, which is why the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of such weapons are banned under an international treaty. However, the administration argues that Ukraine needs these weapons to defend itself against Russia’s use of cluster munitions during the ongoing conflict. The decision has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
The United States is not a signatory to the Cluster Convention, and neither is Ukraine or Russia. Although Ukraine has committed to using the weapons on a limited basis and not in Russia, concerns remain about the potential harm to civilians, as cluster munitions can remain active and explode long after the conflict is over.
The decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine comes at a time when the country is mounting a counteroffensive against Russian aggression and seeking to retake its own territory. The Biden administration argues that Ukraine’s motivation to protect its citizens justifies the use of these weapons.
While leading Republicans have been urging the administration to provide Ukraine with such munitions, several Democratic members of Congress have criticized the decision, emphasizing the indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions and their potential to harm civilians.
The administration acknowledges the risks associated with cluster munitions but believes that the alternative of Russian troops and tanks overrunning Ukrainian positions is even worse. They claim that the rate of unexploded ordnance for the munitions being sent to Ukraine is low and will pose a minimal threat to civilians in the future.
The decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine was made after careful consideration and consultation with allies and members of Congress. The Pentagon already has a stockpile of these munitions from the 2003 invasion of Iraq, making them readily available for export.
President Biden is set to attend NATO meetings in Europe, where Ukraine’s defense will be a topic of discussion. While Ukraine is not expected to be admitted as a NATO member at the upcoming meeting, the alliance will reaffirm its commitment to Ukraine’s defense and explore ways to overcome challenges posed by Turkey and Hungary.