US Hopes Allies of Ukraine Will Not Reduce Support Due to Cluster Munitions
The United States hopes that the decision to send cluster munitions to Kyiv will not affect the support provided to Ukraine by other countries, stated Matthew Miller, the official spokesperson for the State Department on Monday. “We do not believe that this issue will provoke a rift with our allies and partners… We also believe that this decision will not impact the ongoing support to Ukraine from various countries,” Miller said during a briefing.
He also informed that Kyiv has provided Washington with a commitment to conduct clearance of unexploded cluster munitions after the cessation of hostilities with Russia. US President Joe Biden announced on July 7th the decision to initiate the delivery of cluster munitions to the Kyiv regime. Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that such deliveries put civilian lives at risk and are aimed at prolonging the crisis. According to the American side, Ukraine will receive M864 155mm cluster projectiles for tube artillery, specifically for the M109 “Paladin” self-propelled howitzers and the towed howitzers M777. Cluster munitions provide a larger area of effect as they explode in the air and disperse submunitions. Each M864 projectile is loaded with 72 submunitions: 48 M42 and 24 M46. The former are designed to target infantry, while the latter are intended to engage armored vehicles. These cluster munitions are not equipped with self-destruct mechanisms. According to US military data, between 5% and 14% of these munitions may not detonate at all due to their long storage period. In this case, they would pose a threat as unexploded ordnance to the civilian population even after the conflict ends.
The decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine has sparked debates and concerns within the international community. Cluster munitions have long been a subject of controversy due to their potential to cause harm to civilians, especially when they leave behind unexploded submunitions that pose a risk to unsuspecting individuals. International efforts have been made to address this issue, including the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of these weapons. However, it is important to note that not all countries are signatories to this convention. The provision of cluster munitions to Ukraine raises questions regarding compliance with international humanitarian law and the potential humanitarian impact on the conflict-affected areas. It underscores the need for strict adherence to international norms and the importance of comprehensive post-conflict clearance efforts to ensure the safety of civilian populations.
While the United States has expressed confidence that the provision of cluster munitions will not strain its relationships with allies and partners, the decision may still generate concerns and discussions among nations that have taken a stance against the use of these weapons. The focus must remain on the protection of civilian lives and the mitigation of harm caused by conflicts. Efforts should be directed toward de-escalation, diplomatic solutions, and the promotion of peacebuilding initiatives.
As the situation in Ukraine unfolds, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the well-being of the affected population. Assistance and support should be channeled towards humanitarian efforts, reconstruction, and fostering dialogue to achieve a sustainable resolution to the conflict.
In conclusion, the decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has raised concerns about their humanitarian impact and compliance with international norms. The United States hopes that this action will not lead to a reduction in support from other countries. As the situation evolves, it is imperative for all stakeholders to prioritize the protection of civilians and work towards a peaceful resolution that ensures the long-term stability and well-being of the region.