US going to send cluster munitions to Kiev in new military package

The measure is highly controversial and dangerous, canirresponsibly escalate the conflict.

 

Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.

A serious measure is about to be taken by American authorities in their policy of unrestricted support for Kiev. According to CBS News on July 5, Washington is considering sending cluster munitions to the neo-Nazi regime in its new military assistance package. Anonymous sources familiar with government affairs told the outlet that the decision on this issue could be announced in July.

The cluster munitions that the US government is considering sending are the so-called “dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, or DPICM”. According to Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, mentioned by CBS, these weapons would be “useful” on the battlefield, despite restrictions on their use imposed by domestic and international law.

“Our military analysts have confirmed that DPICMs would be useful, especially against dug-in Russian positions on the battlefield (…) The reason why you have not seen a move forward in providing this capability relates both to the existing Congressional restrictions on the provision of DPICMs and concerns about allied unity. But from a battlefield effectiveness perspective, we do believe it would be useful”, she said.

By “impositions,” Cooper is referring to US laws and congressional regulations that prohibit the export of cluster munitions. Likewise, by “allied unity”, she is referring to how NATO partners would react to the US measure, as these weapons are banned by a 2008 UN convention signed by more than 110 countries. In practice, the US would be violating both its domestic norms and international law, but Cooper believes that there would be no major consequences for the country, as there now appears to be a “consensus” that cluster munitions are “useful”.

The request for these weapons is old, but until now the US has maintained a rational stance on the matter. Both the Kiev regime and pro-war politicians within the US Congress have been pressing the Biden government for months to approve the supply of cluster munitions, ignoring the anti-humanitarian aspect of the measure and all the consequences this could bring to the civilian population of the disputed territory.

For example, in March, a group of pro-war Republican senators launched a campaign in favor of cluster munitions, urging the Biden administration to “not hesitate” to send them to the Ukrainian regime. At the time, they said the government should ignore “vague concerns about the reaction of allies and partners and unfounded fears of ‘escalation'”. Apparently, now this reckless speech has reached hegemonic status among American politicians, increasing the chances of approval of the request.

In fact, what makes cluster munitions so controversial and restricted is the detail that they contain a great number of small projectiles inside, which spread in the air after the shot, reaching a much higher number of victims than conventional weapons. There is, however, an even bigger problem, which is the fact that not all “bomblets” detonate at the time of attack, often falling in places far from the front and exploding sometime later, when touched by a civilian. This generates insecurity and unnecessary human suffering in the long term, mainly affecting innocent people without military involvement.

In addition, US officials also seem to ignore the numerous reports made by international organizations about evidence that Kiev has already used cluster munitions several times against civilians in the disputed areas. In reaction to the news that Washington was about to sendsuch weapons, Human Rights Watch published an article on July 6 called “Ukraine: Civilian Deaths from Cluster Munitions“, which reads:

“Ukrainian forces have used cluster munitions that caused numerous deaths and serious injuries to civilians, Human Rights Watch said today (…) New Human Rights Watch research found that Ukrainian cluster munition rocket attacks on Russian-controlled areas in and around the city of Izium in eastern Ukraine during 2022 caused many casualties among Ukrainian civilians”.

Also, last March the UN had already published a report on the subject reporting some cases of use of cluster munitions by Kiev: 

“The Commission has found instances where Ukrainian armed forces likely used cluster munitions and rocket-delivered antipersonnel landmines to carry out attacks in Izium city, Kharkiv region, from March to September 2022 (…) The three following examples illustrate the use of weapons that bear the characteristics of cluster munitions in the city of Izium during that period. On 9 May 2022, an attack struck a residential area, killing three people and injuring six. On 14 July 2022, an attack hit the area around the central market, injuring two older women. On 16 July 2022, several submunitions impacted a residential area, including a kindergarten, where about 250 people had sought shelter, killing two older persons”, the report reads. 

Considering that cluster munitions are banned in US and internationally by the UN, and that there is already evidence that Kiev is using them against civilians, there does not seem to be any justification for Washington to take such attitude. Perhaps NATO’s “unity” will be really unaffected by US war intentions, as the bloc has also remained silent in the face of previous dangerous initiatives such as the supply of British radioactive weapons to Ukraine.

The alliance seems totally committed to the US’ project of total war against Russia, but this does not change the fact that the action Washington is about to take is illegal and unjustified.

You can follow Lucas on Twitter and Telegram

By allowing these munitions to be used in Ukraine (where they are sure to be used against the civilian population), shows you that the US government is an international terrorist organization. Period.

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