US considers transferring cluster munitions to Ukraine

8 December 2022, 10:31 PM
Remains of missiles used by Russian occupiers to strike Kharkiv, November 29, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)

Remains of missiles used by Russian occupiers to strike Kharkiv, November 29, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden is considering Ukraine's request for cluster munitions, CNN reported on Dec. 8.

According to CNN, in recent months, Ukrainian officials and lawmakers have called on Washington to approve the transfer of cluster munitions, which are banned in more than 100 countries, but which Russia continues to use against civilians in Ukraine. The network called the request "one of the most controversial since the beginning of the war."

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The report said that senior White House officials have been considering the request for several months. Apparently, the option is viewed as a "last resort" – if stockpiles of Western arms and ammunition start to run "dangerously low." At the same time, CNN’s sources said that the request hadn’t yet been seriously considered due to Congressional legislative restrictions on the transfer of cluster munitions, related to the fact that they could pose a danger to civilians.

“For Ukraine, cluster munitions could address two major issues: the need for more ammunition for artillery and rocket systems the United States and others have provided, and a way of closing Russia’s numerical superiority in artillery,” CNN said.

Ukrainian Defense Ministry told CNN it does not comment on reports of requests for specific weapons or ammunition.

Cluster warhead are imprecise by design, releasing a large number of submunitions to damage enemy vehicles and infantry. These submunitions spread over a wide area and often fail to explode. Left unobserved, they can kill or injure civilians – long after the battle is over. Locating and removing them also poses challenges. By 2022, more than 120 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, banning the use of these weapons.

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