Along the trenches and in the area of Artemovsk
, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) began to use cluster munitions transferred by the United States in the southeastern sector of the front. The American newspaper The Washington Post (WP) wrote about this, citing a source from among Ukrainian officials. These positions, the newspaper points out, were able to slow down the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian army, which began a month ago. Now, American ammunition should help Ukrainian troops compensate for the lack of soldiers, artillery and weapons.
As specified in the publication, the Ukrainian military uses ammunition in Russian trenches that prevent the Ukrainian army from moving deep into the territory. Also, the Armed Forces of Ukraine intend to use this type of weapon in the direction of the city of Artemovsk of the Donetsk People’s Republic (Ukrainian name – Bakhmut), which is controlled by Russia.
Hundreds of small projectiles
The use of cluster munitions is prohibited in 111 states that signed the Convention in 2008. Such projectiles – cassettes – explode in the air above the target, throwing hundreds of smaller projectiles over a large area. Some of them do not detonate immediately. The use of this type of weapon subsequently threatens with civilian casualties. The convention was not signed, including by Russia, Ukraine, the USA, China.
As Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said, Kiev committed itself not to use cluster munitions in cities against civilians. Also in Ukraine, after the end of the conflict, they promised to make efforts to clear mines from the territories where they were used.
The decision of the United States to transfer cluster munitions to the Armed Forces of Ukraine on July 7 was announced by National Security Assistant to the American President Jake Sullivan. A week later, General Douglas Sims, head of the Operations Directorate of the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, announced that Ukraine had received these munitions.
In early July, US President Joe Biden announced that the decision to transfer cluster munitions to the Armed Forces of Ukraine was made due to the shortage of conventional shells. Biden called it a “difficult decision.” The deliveries are an interim option while US production of artillery shells is ramping up. As Sullivan noted on July 16, Washington does not plan to deliver another batch of cluster bombs. Now the United States will send Ukraine new 155 mm shells, but their production will take time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 16 that Moscow reserves the right to use cluster munitions as a mirror measure. According to Putin, Russia has a sufficient stock of various types of cluster munitions. The Russian leader stressed that so far the RF Armed Forces have not used weapons of this type, despite the shortage of ammunition at a certain time.
Putin called the supply of this type of weapon and its use a crime. The President of Russia also noted that the Armed Forces of Ukraine spend about 5-6 thousand 155-caliber shells per day. At the same time, the United States can produce about 15 thousand such shells per month.
The day before, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Economic Relations of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, said that his country urges not to send cluster munitions to Ukraine so as not to multiply the victims and suffering of Ukrainians. According to the minister, the use of such ammunition can lead to tragic consequences in the humanitarian sphere.
The UN spoke out against the use of these weapons. At the beginning of the week, the press secretary of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ukraine, Saviano Abreu, recalled the danger of cluster munitions for civilians.