Why is US sending cluster munitions to Ukraine?

Cluster munitions are being used by both Ukraine and Russia ever since the war began in Februrary 2022.
Last Updated : 08 July 2023, 16:58 IST

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The US has agreed to Ukraine's request of supplying the latter with cluster bombs. The move has come under criticism by human rights activists worldwide. Cluster bombs are banned by more than 100 countries, reported BBC.

Dispersing a large number of bomblets from a missile, rocket, or artillery shell which then indiscriminately spreads mid-air and covers a large area is called cluster bombing. These bombs are supposed to explode immediately on impact. However, if they land on soft or wet grounds, they might fail to explode initially but can pose a serious threat later if someone trods on or picks it up. This often proves fatal for the victims as it can explode on human contact. Some of these bombs can pose a threat for many decades too.

Which countries use cluster munitions?

Cluster munitions are being used by both Ukraine and Russia ever since the war began in February 2022. Neither of the aforementioned countries has signed any treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, along with the US. However, the US has been consistently slamming Russia for using these bombs on Ukraine.

When a cluster bomb fails to explode immediately, it's called a "dud". Russia's cluster munitions have a dud rate of about 40 per cent. This means that a large number of these bombs pose a threat to life on the ground. Meanwhile, US's cluster bombs have a dud rate of 3 per cent, as estimated by Pentagon.

Why is Ukraine demanding them?

The Ukrainian Army needs to replenish its war arsenal with immediate effect, as it, along with Russia, is using up its military hardware at an extremely high rate. Meanwhile, the Western allies of Ukraine are finding it difficult to send the required weapons as per the immediate requirement of the war-torn country. Currently, Ukraine is facing a major task to dislodge Russia from its 1,000-km war front. Hence, Ukraine has asked the US to re-supply them with cluster bombs so that it can target the Russian infantry along its defence posts.

The after effects of US' decision

The decision to send cluster bombs has not been an easy one for the US. Many human rights activists and Democrats have openly spoken against it as well.

Russia's several alleged war crimes in Ukraine are well known and documented enough for the world to point fingers at the Putin-led Communist nation. Likewise, the Biden government can also expect brickbats for its hypocrisy and lack of moral ground. This can also put the US in an awkward position in front of its Western allies.

Now that's something even Putin will also be waiting and watching out for.

Published 08 July 2023, 15:01 IST

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