Ukraine starts using US-supplied cluster munitions – report

20 July, 10:50 PM
Ukrainian soldiers near a 155 mm M777 howitzer. Cluster munitions of this caliber were to be provided by the United States to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Ukrainian soldiers near a 155 mm M777 howitzer. Cluster munitions of this caliber were to be provided by the United States to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

The Ukrainian military has used cluster munitions provided by the United States for the first time, striking at fortified positions of Russian forces in southeastern Ukraine, The Washington Post reported on July 20, citing Ukrainian officials familiar with the matter.

According to the newspaper's unnamed source, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked Russian positions "to break up well-fortified Russian positions that have slowed Ukraine’s summer offensive."

"In addition to front-line positions in southeastern Ukraine, the cluster munitions are also expected to be used near the Russia-controlled city of Bakhmut, the site of the war’s longest and bloodiest battle," the article says.

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During a press briefing on July 20, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby also confirmed that Ukrainian troops have deployed U.S.-supplied DPICM artillery rounds against Russian forces.

In an interview published on July 18, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, Commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, said that cluster munitions would be ready for use "within a few days." BBC journalists have reported observing M777 howitzers in positions around Bakhmut. These howitzers can fire U.S.-made DPICM rounds.

Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of Ukraine’s southern operational and strategic force group, previously said that such ammunition could radically change the situation on the battlefield. According to Oleksandr Bakulin, commander of the 57th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade, they are needed to "inflict maximum damage on enemy infantry."

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense noted that they would use cluster munitions only in places where Russian troops are concentrated, outside of populated areas, to avoid risks to civilians.

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