Ukraine Fires First Of Biden’s Cluster Munitions

( — US officials confirmed last week that Ukrainian troops have begun using the cluster munitions supplied by the United States in their counteroffensive against Russian forces, CNN reported.

On July 13, Ukrainian officials confirmed that the cluster munitions had arrived in Ukraine, prompting Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to warn that Russia would deploy its stockpile if Ukraine deployed the controversial munitions.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that it would be sending cluster bombs to Ukraine as part of the latest $800 million military aid package, the Associated Press reported.

The administration justified the move by citing Ukraine’s munitions shortage.

Ukraine said the munitions would be used to dislodge Russian forces in occupied territories and gave written assurances that the munitions would not be used against Russia itself.

Officials told CNN that the US is awaiting updates from Ukraine on how effective the munitions have been.

In a press briefing last Thursday, National Security spokesman John Kirby confirmed that Ukraine has started using the munitions, telling reporters that Ukraine is “using them appropriately” and “effectively.” Kirby added that the munitions were “having an impact” on Russia’s defensive formations and maneuvering.

Cluster munitions detonate in mid-air, releasing scores of smaller “bomblets” across a wide area, allowing Ukrainian forces to target larger concentrations of forces and equipment with fewer ammunition rounds.

But the “dud” rate of the smaller bomblets can pose a long-term risk to civilian populations much like abandoned landmines. Because of this, more than two-thirds of NATO member countries have signed on to the Convention of Cluster Munitions which bans the production, transfer, or use of cluster bombs.

Russia, Ukraine, and the United States did not sign on to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

According to US officials, Russian forces have already been using cluster bombs in Ukraine, including in areas populated by civilians.

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