US confirms Ukraine’s ‘effective’ use of cluster bombs against Russian forces

A Russian bomblet fired in Kharkiv earlier in the war. Reuters/File
A Russian bomblet fired in Kharkiv earlier in the war. Reuters/File

The United States has confirmed that Ukraine is ‘effectively’ using US-supplied cluster bombs against Russian forces in the region. 

The deployment of these munitions has sparked controversy as they are banned by over 100 countries due to the potential threat they pose to civilians. 

National Security Spokesman John Kirby remarked, “We have gotten some initial feedback from the Ukrainians, and they’re using them quite effectively. The cluster munitions are having an impact on Russian defensive formations and maneuvering.” 

He stressed that Ukraine has pledged to use the cluster bombs solely to dislodge concentrations of Russian enemy soldiers.

“They are using them appropriately,” Mr Kirby said. “They’re using them effectively and they are actually having an impact on Russia’s defensive formations and Russia’s defensive manoeuvring. I think I can leave it at that.”

The decision to supply cluster bombs was made by the US in response to Ukraine’s plea for ammunition support during its ongoing summer counter-offensive. President Joe Biden acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, while some of the US’s allies, including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain, expressed their opposition to their use.

Cluster bombs, containing numerous small bomblets that scatter over an area, have the potential to cause significant harm to civilians, which is why they are prohibited by numerous nations. However, Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi defended their use, saying that they are necessary to “inflict maximum damage on enemy infantry” and expedite their efforts on the ground.

In the midst of the conflict, Russia has also taken aggressive actions against Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, escalating the situation further. Air strikes on the ports have led to injuries of at least 27 civilians and have caused significant damage to buildings, including the Chinese consulate in Odesa.

The Black Sea escalation has resulted in soaring global grain prices, impacting vulnerable populations, especially in the global south. Moscow’s decision to withdraw from a UN-brokered deal has triggered further tensions, with Russia issuing warnings to ships heading to Ukrainian waters and Kyiv responding with similar measures.

Despite the controversy surrounding their use, Ukraine remains determined to use the cluster bombs against Russian forces to push back against the invasion. The ongoing conflict continues to have far-reaching humanitarian consequences, and the international community is closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds.

The deployment of cluster munitions by Ukraine, although seen as effective by some, raises serious concerns about the impact on civilians and the potential for further escalation in the region. As the conflict persists, the need for a diplomatic resolution becomes increasingly urgent to prevent further harm to innocent lives.

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