ua en ru

Biden approves cluster munition supply to Ukraine

Biden approves cluster munition supply to Ukraine US President Joe Biden (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

US President Joe Biden has approved the transfer of controversial cluster munitions to Ukraine. It is due to be announced today, according to The Washington Post.

Congress is set to draw these munitions from existing US Defense Department stocks.

This decision comes amid concerns about Kyiv’s lagging counteroffensive against entrenched Russian troops and dwindling Western stocks of conventional artillery.

Such a move circumvents US law, which prohibits the production, use or transfer of cluster munitions with a failure rate of more than 1 percent.

According to the latest estimates conducted in 2020, the failure rate of cluster munitions does not exceed 2.35%. Although this exceeds the 1% limit, Pentagon spokesperson Patrick Ryder sais that officials are "carefully selecting" munitions with a failure rate of 2.35% or lower for transfer to Ukraine.

Controversial munitions
One cluster munition dispenses bomblets that can cover an area five times larger than conventional munitions. They consist of dozens of smaller bombs that scatter upon detonation.

In 2010, a convention banning cluster munitions was adopted, with 123 states prohibiting their use, production, and stockpiling due to their potential danger to civilians for many years after end of war. However, the United States, Ukraine, and Russia did not sign the treaty.

Cluster munitions for Ukraine
As early as the end of 2022, CNN reported that Ukraine had requested the United States to provide it with cluster warheads for multiple launch rocket systems and artillery shells, but the Biden administration was not prepared to fulfill this request.

In February 2023, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Western allies to provide Ukraine with such weaponry. However, this request faced criticism in Germany.