Washington [US], July 8: The United States announced on Friday that it will send Ukraine widely-banned cluster munitions as part of a security assistance package, a move Ukraine said would have an "extraordinary psycho-emotional impact" on occupying Russian forces.
Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden's national security adviser, laid out the case on Friday for providing cluster munitions to Ukraine ahead of an expected Pentagon announcement.
"We recognize that cluster munitions create a risk of civilian harm from unexploded ordnance," Sullivan told reporters. "This is why we've deferred the decision for as long as we could."
"But there is also a massive risk of civilian harm if Russian troops and tanks roll over Ukrainian positions and take more Ukrainian territory and subjugate more Ukrainian civilians because Ukraine does not have enough artillery," he said.
Cluster munitions are prohibited by more than 100 countries. They typically release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area and those that fail to explode pose a danger for decades after a conflict ends.
"Ukraine has provided written assurances that it is going to use these in a very careful way" to minimize risks to civilians Sullivan said.
Human rights groups oppose Washington's decision, but the munitions could provide a boost to a Ukrainian counteroffensive to reclaim territory seized by Russian forces since they invaded in February 2022.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Corporation