Ukraine receives cluster munitions, pledges limited use

Ukraine receives cluster munitions, pledges limited use
Three M142 HIMARS multiple rocket launchers belonging to Romanian army (L), and one French LRU M270 MLRS rocket launcher (R), fire real rockets during the NATO military exercise 'Eagle Royal 23' held at Capul Midia shooting range, 250 kilometers south-east of Bucharest, Romania, 09 February 2023. About 350 soldiers with 60 military vehicles belonging to the Romanian NATO Battle Group, with France as the host nation, the 8th Tactical Missile Brigade 'Alexandru Ioan Cuza' and the 101st Airborne Division of the United States are participating, between February 2 and 10, at the live ammunition artilery firing exercise 'EAGLE ROYAL 23' which takes place at the 'Brigadier General Ion Bungescu' shooting range at the Black Sea, with the aim of testing the inter-operability of artillery systems, as part of a NATO collective defense operation on the South-Eastern flank of the Alliance. EPA-EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

KYIV, July 13 (Reuters) - Ukraine has received cluster bombs from the United States, munitions banned in more than 100 countries, but has pledged to only use them to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.

Valeryi Shershen, a spokesman for the Tavria, or southern, military district on Thursday confirmed an announcement by his commander that the weapons had arrived a week after the United States said it would send them as part of an $800-million security package.

The Pentagon also announced their arrival.

Moscow has denounced their shipment. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu warned on Thursday that Russia could resort to deploying similar weaponry if faced with their use.

Ukrainian officials say their deployment is justified in view of Russia’s mining of vast tracts of land it has seized.

Ukraine has launched a counter offensive more than 500 days into the war, focusing on capturing groups of villages in the southeast and retaking areas around the eastern city of Bakhmut, seized by Russian forces in May after months of fighting.

“This will further demotivate Russian occupying forces and fundamentally change things in favour of the Ukrainian armed forces,” Shershen told U.S.-funded Radio Liberty.

The munitions, he said, would be used strictly within the legal framework, “only for the deoccupation of our territories.

“They will not be used on Russian territory…They will be used only in areas where Russian military forces are concentrated in order to break through enemy defences.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy restated Ukraine’s assurances during a NATO summit on Wednesday.

Cluster munitions typically release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area. Those that fail to explode pose a danger for decades.

Each side has accused the other of using cluster bombs in the conflict launched by Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Human Rights Watch says both Moscow and Kyiv have used cluster munitions. Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. have not signed up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans production, stockpiling, use and transfer of the weapons.

The decision to send the munitions to Ukraine has been opposed by Spain and Canada, while Britain said it was part of a convention that discourages use of the weapons. Some U.S. Democratic lawmakers also raised their concerns.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleskander Musiyenko said he assumed the weapons would be used in the south as that area’s commander had announced their arrival.

“We can say that it is in the south where it is planned to pierce and destroy the fortifications of the enemy’s defence line,” Musiyenko told Ukrainian television. “I think cluster munitions will expand the capabilities of our troops.”

Deputy Ukrainian Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukrainian troops were making headway in the south, forcing enemy forces to redeploy. Near Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops made gains south of the city, but faced more difficulties to the north.

Russian accounts of the fighting said its forces had repelled 16 Ukrainian attacks in eastern Donetsk region alone.

(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka and Kyiv Newsroom; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Ron Popeski and Michael Perry)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Vas K says:

    So it is OK for the innocent civilians to lose limbs for a decade or so after the end of the war. US has crossed a significant line and together with Ukraine are losing the perception of moral ground they had up to now. What are the next lines to cross? Chemical weapons, biological weapons, small nukes, big nukes? All “pledged to only use them to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.” This is the most meaningless statement I have read in a long time.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The Ukrainian war has strengthened NATO rather than to weaken it and has new members who were not part of it during the cold war. The war has achieved what Russia did not want. Ukraine will be part of NATO in the future just like the former Warsaw Pact countries and the other former Soviet Republics. We have been treated to a wide ranging propaganda by the Russian capitalist state and its leadership that that is autocratic and homophobic as well as its permanent stooges in the country within the ANC and the SACP as if we have a very low coefficient of thinking. The ANC and SACP did not see imperialism during the First World War when the British and the Allies fought and defeated the Kaiser with the sinking of the Mendi that they commemorate annually. The same ANC and the SACP did not see anything imperialist about the British and Americans when they fought and defeated Hitler and the Japanese and liberated the Chinese. We have a 21st Century Hitler called Putin who has invaded Ukraine and when these countries support Ukraine so that the country can defeat and expel the thug we are told about imperialism that apparently did not exist to them during the First World War and in the Second World War. The fact that Lenin to undertake the Russian Revolution was assisted by the Germans is left in the history of the Soviet history by revisionits.
    We support the arming of Ukraine against the 21st Century Nazism of Putin and Russia with all means necessary to defeat and expel them.

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