Two American lawmakers say Ukraine is pushing the United States to provide it with banned cluster bombs to drop them on Russian forces from drones.
Jason Crow and Adam Smith who serve on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee said Kiev has urged members of Congress to press the White House to approve the weapons shipment, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Cluster bombs include anti-armor bomblets Ukraine plans to use against Russian forces by drones. That is in addition to the 155-millimeter artillery cluster shells Ukraine has already requested.
Cluster munitions, banned by more than 120 countries, normally release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area, threatening civilians.
The lawmakers said Ukraine is seeking the MK-20, an air-delivered cluster bomb, to release its individual explosives from drones.
They said Ukrainian officials called on American lawmakers at last month's Munich Security Conference to press for White House approval.
Ukraine hopes cluster bombs will give it an edge in the fight against Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also participated in last month's conference. The senator who is considered the main supporter of the US -industrial complex in Congress confirmed that Ukrainian officials in Munich called for cluster munitions. He said he would support the request.
"This is a war where (the Ukrainians) are outmanned," Graham told Reuters. "And cluster munitions really are pretty lethal to mass formations as well as armor. In the areas where they are going to use this stuff there are no civilians."
So far, the Biden administration has refrained from officially sending any cluster munitions to Ukraine. However, even though the export of such weapons has been banned by Congress, media outlets such as Politico have suggested that US President Joe Biden and even his Secretary of State Antony Blinken could potentially override this ban.
An American adviser to the Ukrainian military has also called on Washington to send Kiev forces cluster munitions to fight Russia.
Dan Rice said in December that the US “really needs to” supply Kiev’s forces with cluster bombs to increase “base lethality” and “win the war” against Russia.
In October, Russian officials revealed that the Kiev forces had used cluster munitions to arm a US-made HIMARS rocket launcher to strike a river crossing in Kherson, which killed four civilians, including a journalist. Kiev, however, has denied responsibility for the attacks.
In this regard, a former CIA contractor told Press TV that the Ukrainian forces were already using banned cluster munitions and other illegal weapons, so Washington’s decision to provide Kiev with more lethal ammunition made no difference.
Cluster bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action. The weapons can contain dozens of smaller bomblets, dispersing over vast areas, often killing and maiming civilians long after they are dropped.
The convention bans all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster bombs. More than 100 countries have signed the treaty, but the United States has not.
Add new comment