Concerns Arise As US Plans To Send Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

The United States will deliver cluster munitions to Ukraine for the first time, the Department of Defense stated on Friday.

Why it matters: The statement, which is sure to be criticized by human rights groups, comes as Ukraine has struggled to achieve significant victories in its counteroffensive against Russia.

According to the Washington Post, by supplying the weapons to Ukraine, the US is circumventing a rule that bars the use or transfer of cluster munitions with a failure rate greater than 1%.

According to the Department of Defense, the cluster munitions will be part of a new $800 million military support package for Ukraine.

President Joe Biden told CNN that it was a difficult choice for him, but that he had addressed it with Congress and US allies.

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The Fragments of An Intensifying Conflict

This is a munitions battle. And they’re running out of ammunition, and we’re running low on it, Biden said in an interview due to debut Sunday.

They’re trying to get through those trenches and stop those tanks from rolling, Biden said, adding that he was acting on DOD’s request and that the measure was temporary.

The big picture: A cluster munition is a sort of bomb that fragments in the air above a target into dozens, and occasionally hundreds, of bomblets that can spread across a large region.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, cluster munitions frequently fall beyond the intended target range due to weather and other environmental conditions.

According to the ICRC, although cluster munitions are supposed to detonate on impact, as many as 40% fail to do so, posing a threat to people long after they are dropped.

Details: The cluster munitions being sent to Ukraine will have a dud rate of less than 2.35%, meaning they will not detonate on impact as planned, according to Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, at a press briefing Friday.

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