Biden admin moves to give ‘cluster bombs’ to Ukraine despitehumanitarian concerns

Jul 7, 2023 | Featured, Political News

The Biden administration is considering a plan to send Ukraine with controversial cluster munitions in an $800 million weapons package, and may make that announcement on Friday.

This despite the humanitarian concerns surrounding weapons like these, which can leave unexploded ordinance embedded in the ground only to mame or kill civilians years after the war is over.

Cluster munitions, The New York Times reports, detonate dozens of submunitions called bomblets, but they don't always all detonate and some can be left behind. Those who oppose landmines due to their unintended impact on civilians also oppose cluster bombs.

Ukraine has reportedly been requesting the weapons for months, but the US has been reluctant to give them as over 100 countries including some of America’s closest allies, including Britain, Germany, and France, signed on to the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008 have banned cluster munitions because of the harm unexploded bomblets can cause civilians. 

Ukraine is reportedly facing a shortage of ammunition for its expected counteroffensive against Russian forces.

The US, Ukraine, and Russia don’t ban the munitions, but American law has restricted the transfer of cluster munitions if the “dud rate” is high, meaning more than 1 percent of the bomblets in the weapon usually fail to explode.

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Thursday that the dud rate of the cluster munitions the Biden administration is considering sending is less than 2.35 percent, noting that Russia has been using cluster munitions in Ukraine that reportedly have dud rates of over 40 percent. 

The Ukrainians have also reportedly used cluster munitions 

President Joe Biden is reportedly considering waiving the dud rate requirement just as the US works to destroy other hazardous weapons from its chemical weapons arsenal.

Next week, Biden is traveling to Europe for a NATO meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.