The US is considering providing Ukraine with cluster munitions – mass media
The United States is considering the possibility of providing Ukraine with cluster munitions.
CNN reported this.
In recent months, Ukrainian officials and lawmakers have repeatedly called on the U.S. President Joe Biden’s Administration and Members of Congress to provide the Ukrainian military with this type of ammunition.
Cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries, but Russia continues using them in its war with Ukraine.
In the USA, this option is considered only as an extreme necessity – in case of dangerous depletion of Ukrainian ammunition stocks.
Senior Biden administration officials have been fielding this request for months and have not rejected it outright, CNN has learned, a detail that has not been previously reported.
The publication notes that for Ukraine, cluster munitions could address two major issues: the need for more ammunition for the artillery and rocket systems the US and others have provided and a way of closing Russia’s numerical superiority in artillery.
The Biden administration has not taken the option off the table as a last resort if stockpiles begin to run dangerously low. But sources say the proposal has not yet received significant consideration in large part due to the statutory restrictions that Congress has put on the US’ ability to transfer cluster munitions.
Those restrictions apply to munitions with a greater than one percent unexploded ordnance rate, which raises the prospect that they will pose a risk to civilians. President Joe Biden could override that restriction, but the administration has indicated to the Ukrainians that that is unlikely in the near term.
According to the publication, Ukraine wants to receive cluster munitions compatible with both the US-provided HIMARS rocket launchers and the 155 mm howitzers provided by the United States. These munitions will allow Ukrainian forces to more effectively attack larger, more dispersed targets, such as concentrations of Russian troops and equipment on the battlefield.
Cluster munitions are banned by an international convention that came into effect in 2010, but neither Ukraine, the United States, nor Russia have joined it.
Cluster munitions consist of containers used for aerial bombs, artillery shells, rockets, and warheads of tactical missiles. As a rule, they open in the air and scatter tens or even hundreds of small submunitions over the target – these are usually small explosive devices that explode already on the ground immediately or later.
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