Cluster bombs promised to Ukraine by President Joe Biden have arrived less than a week after they were first publicly flagged for delivery, the Pentagon said Thursday.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan revealed last Friday the Biden administration will provide Ukraine with the controversial weapons, which have long been opposed by humanitarian groups for their long-term effects on civilians.
Now the promise has become a reality.
Biden justified his “very difficult” decision to send the deadly weapons to Ukraine as the country is “running out of ammunition” and the United States is running low on the 155-millimetre artillery shells to resupply the Ukrainian forces.
Therefore, Biden argued, the U.S. would provide cluster munitions for a “transition period”, while claiming they will not be used in civilian areas but merely to break through the entrenched positions of the Russian forces.
Cluster munitions are a category of rockets, bombs, missiles, and artillery projectiles that break apart in the air and blanket a large area.
The munitions often fail and can devastate civilians.
WATCH: Demonstration of the Devastating Cluster Bombs Biden Is Sending to Ukraine
Nellis Air Force Base via Storyful
More than 100 countries have vowed not to use cluster munitions, although Russia, China, and Ukraine have not signed the international agreement on cluster bombs.
AP reports U.S. leaders have said the U.S. version of the munition as delivered to Ukraine has a reduced “dud rate,” meaning fewer of the smaller bomblets fail to explode.
The unexploded rounds, which often litter battlefields and populated civilian areas, cause unintended deaths. U.S. officials said Washington will provide thousands of the rounds, but provided no specific numbers.
Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of operations for the Joint staff, told reporters on Thursday that “cluster munitions have indeed been delivered to Ukraine at this point.” But it wasn’t clear if Ukrainian troops have used them yet.
The UK and Spain have called on Joe Biden to not send cluster bombs to Ukraine amid concerns over danger to civilian populations. https://t.co/TBVfXCst2C
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 10, 2023
Biden described the decision to provide the projectiles as “very difficult,” citing their record of killing civilians.
Both Moscow and Kyiv have deployed the munitions during the war, and Ukrainian regional officials have regularly accused Russian forces of using them to target civilians.
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