Ukraine Requests Internationally Banned Cluster Munitions From US
United Nations: Russia and Ukraine have both used cluster munitions in the war, with Ukraine using them several times. The weapons have been mostly used in populated areas. Photo | Donald Standeford.
By Donald Standeford, SJ Founder/Publisher
December 14, 2022 12:45 am UTC
Modified: 2022-12-14 12:45 am
WASHINGTON – Although Ukraine has requested that the United States provide them with cluster munitions, the Biden administration says that it is “concerned” over the use of ‘those kinds’ of munitions. The UN says that both Russia and Ukraine have used cluster munitions in the war, mostly in populated areas.
Although cluster munitions are internationally banned through the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States never officially took part in signing it, and the U.S. Department of Defense has said that cluster munitions provide a ‘vital military capability.
Despite being in favor of using them, the United States hasn’t used the munitions in combat since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, except for a single attack using them in Yemen in 2009, according to the Human Rights Watchorganization.
There have been many reports that Russia has allegedly used cluster munitions during its invasion of Ukraine, and that it has led to a growing number of civilian casualties.
Ukraine Has Already Used Cluster Munitions
A report by the United Nations news agency said, “Ukrainian forces had also reportedly used cluster munitions several times, the group said, which found that the weapons had been mostly used in populated areas.”
It also reported, “Specifically, deployment of cluster munitions in Ukraine have killed 215 civilians and injured 474. The report further indicated a 302 percent increase in victims, since 2020.”
And added, “Jeff Meer, US Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion, in reference to cluster munitions in Ukraine, noted that, “they also damaged healthcare facilities, factories, and homes.”
What Are Cluster Munitions, Or Bombs And Why Are They Banned Internationally?
Cluster munitions are either air-dropped or ground-launched explosives that release (or eject) smaller bombs that eject bomblets designed to kill personnel on the ground, or render vehicles unusable, killing the occupants.
The bomblets get dispersed within a wide area, and some fail to initially explode, causing them to be a hazard to military personnel or civilians in the area long after they are launched, or even after the conflict, or war that they are used in is over.
Due to the fact that they are dispersed over such a wide area, and how long unexploded munitions remain on the ground, they tend to cause a high number of child fatalities.
Why Does Ukraine Want Cluster Munitions?
Ukraine has asked the United States to provide cluster munitions in order to “turn the tables” on Russia. It is seeking 155-mm dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICMs) filled with M42 and M46 dual-purpose grenades.
M42 and M46 dual-purpose grenades are capable of punching through 2.5-inch thick armor and then fragmenting and taking out personnel in the attack area.