White House confirms Ukraine’s use of US cluster bombs in conflict with Russia

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  • Munitions are being used “effectively” to target Russian defensive positions and operations.
  • These weapons have been banned by more than 100 countries due to their potential for indiscriminate harm.

In a significant development, the White House has acknowledged that Ukraine is employing US-supplied cluster bombs against Russian forces in the ongoing conflict. National Security Spokesman John Kirby reported that initial feedback indicates these munitions are being used “effectively” to target Russian defensive positions and operations.

Cluster bombs are known for their capacity to scatter multiple bomblets over wide areas, posing a severe threat to civilian populations. These weapons have been banned by more than 100 countries due to their potential for indiscriminate harm.

Despite the ban, the US agreed to supply cluster bombs to Ukraine as a measure to bolster their ammunition reserves during the summer counter-offensive against Russian invasion. Ukraine, in turn, pledged to utilize these munitions solely to dislodge concentrations of Russian enemy soldiers.

Mr. Kirby emphasized that Ukraine is adhering to the stipulated guidelines when employing the cluster bombs. He stated, “They are using them appropriately… They’re using them effectively and they are actually having an impact on Russia’s defensive formations and Russia’s defensive maneuvering. I think I can leave it at that.”

The decision to provide cluster bombs to Ukraine was met with controversy and dissent among some US allies. While President Joe Biden acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain opposed their use.

A Russian bomblet fired in Kharkiv

The majority of the supplied cluster bombs are in the form of artillery shells, with a dud rate lower than 2.35%. The term “dud rate” refers to the percentage of bomblets that do not detonate immediately and can pose a threat for an extended period.

When used against enemy troops in trenches and fortified positions, cluster bombs create hazardous environments, making large areas unsafe for movement until thoroughly cleared.

Amidst the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the US has taken the unprecedented step of supplying cluster bombs to Ukrainian forces. This decision comes in response to Ukraine’s urgent plea for ammunition during its prolonged summer counter-offensive against the Russian invasion, which has proven more challenging and costly than anticipated.

National Security Spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the cluster bombs are being utilized by Ukraine in their offensive against Russian defensive positions and operations. Initial assessments indicate that these munitions are proving to be effective in their intended purpose.

However, the use of cluster bombs has raised international concerns due to their potential threat to civilian populations. More than 100 countries have banned these weapons, recognizing their indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to innocent lives.

Russia, in particular, has used similar cluster bombs in Ukraine since launching its full-scale invasion last year. These munitions have been deployed, including in civilian areas, drawing widespread condemnation from the international community.

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to the US decision by asserting that his country possesses similar weapons and would use them if the cluster bombs supplied to Ukraine were deployed against Russia.

Despite the controversy surrounding their use, Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi defended the necessity of these munitions in his forces’ operations in the country’s eastern region. He stated that the cluster bombs are essential for inflicting maximum damage on enemy infantry.

As the conflict continues, the international community remains vigilant, closely monitoring the situation and urging restraint in the use of such controversial weapons. The supply of cluster bombs has added further complexity to an already volatile and tense situation in the region.

“We aspire to achieve swift results, but in reality, achieving such speed is almost impossible. The loss of our infantry here raises questions among their relatives in Russia, prompting them to demand answers from their government,” said the Ukrainian General in charge of operations in the eastern region.

While the cluster bombs have been supplied to Ukrainian forces, he emphasized that they are not a panacea for all their challenges. The complexity of the situation necessitates a multi-faceted approach.

The General also acknowledged the controversy surrounding the use of cluster bombs, recognizing the ethical dilemma they pose. However, he expressed that given the circumstances and the Russian forces’ utilization of such weapons, there is a sense of justification in employing them as well. The consideration of conscience in this decision highlights the gravity of the ongoing conflict and the difficult choices faced by the Ukrainian military.