The Ukrainian Military Starts Using US Cluster Munitions to Break Through Russian Fortifications
In a bid to break through the heavily fortified lines of Russia in the southeastern front, the Ukrainian military has begun deploying cluster munitions provided by the United States, according to an anonymous Ukrainian official.
The Washington Post reported on July 20th that these cluster munitions were fired into the Russian trenches along the front line, aimed at disrupting the counter-offensive campaign of Kiev. This strategic move came after Russian forces successfully thwarted Ukraine’s earlier counter-attack efforts over the past month.
The cluster munitions, apart from being utilized in the frontline positions in southeastern Ukraine, are expected to be employed near the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which is currently under Russian control.
The Necessity of Cluster Munitions
Colonel Oleksandr Bakulin, the commander of the 57th Brigade of Ukraine, voiced the importance of cluster munitions earlier this week. He stated that these munitions are crucial to “inflict maximum damage on enemy infantry,” although he acknowledged that they will not resolve all the challenges faced by Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.
Cluster munitions, which Ukraine acquired as aid from the United States on July 13th, have been an integral part of the military’s strategy to disrupt Russian defenses. The decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions was considered a difficult one by US President Joe Biden, but he underscored the necessity for Ukraine to replenish its dwindling ammunition reserves.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, declared on July 16th that Russia possesses a sufficient stockpile of cluster munitions and that any use of such weapons by Ukraine would warrant an appropriate response from Russia.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions
It is essential to note that the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) has been signed by over 100 countries, including a prohibition on the production, stockpiling, use, and transfer of cluster munitions. However, the United States, Russia, and Ukraine have chosen not to sign the CCM.
This international treaty aims to prevent the humanitarian consequences resulting from the use of cluster munitions, which disperse numerous submunitions near the target area. These submunitions have the potential to cause collateral damage and remain hazardous, as some may malfunction and explode when triggered, even years after a conflict has ended.
Uncertain Response and Implications
Currently, Russia has not officially commented on Ukraine’s use of cluster munitions. The response from Moscow regarding this action’s on-the-ground implications is still uncertain.
The utilization of cluster munitions by the Ukrainian military is a significant development in the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The effectiveness and potential consequences of this strategy remain to be seen.
As the Ukrainian military strives to overcome the fortified lines of Russia in the southeast, they have turned to cluster munitions supplied by the United States. These munitions have been deployed along the front lines, aiming to disrupt Russian defenses in a counter-offensive campaign by Kiev. The decision to utilize cluster munitions was seen as a necessary measure to maximize the impact on enemy forces. It is important to note that cluster munitions have been the subject of international treaties, with the Convention on Cluster Munitions signed by numerous countries. However, the United States, Russia, and Ukraine have not ratified this treaty. The response from Russia to Ukraine’s use of cluster munitions is currently unclear. The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia continues to unfold, and the use of cluster munitions adds further complexity to the situation.