KYIV — Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov welcomed the US decision to send cluster bombs to Kiev, saying it would help liberate Ukrainian territory, but vowed the munitions would not be used in Russia.
The United States announced Friday that it would supply Ukraine with widely banned cluster munitions for its counteroffensive against Russian occupation forces.
Reznikov said the ammunition would help save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, adding that Ukraine would keep strict records of its use and exchange information with its partners.
“Our position is simple: we need to liberate our temporarily occupied territories and save the lives of our people,” Reznikov wrote on Twitter.
“Ukraine will use these ammunition only for the evacuation of our internationally recognized territories. These munitions will not be used on the officially recognized territory of Russia.”
Cluster munitions are banned in more than 100 countries. They typically release a large number of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area. Those that do not explode pose a danger for decades.
Moscow criticized the US decision again on Saturday, describing it as another “egregious” example of Washington’s “anti-Russian” course.
“Another ‘wonder weapon’, which Washington and Kiev are counting on without considering its serious consequences, will in no way affect the course of the special military operation, the goals and objectives of which will be fully achieved,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. , Maria Zakharova. she said in a statement.
Jake Sullivan, US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, tried Friday to make the case for supplying Ukraine with weapons to retake territory seized since Russia invaded in February 2022.
“We recognize that cluster munitions create a risk of civilian harm from unexploded ordnance,” Sullivan told reporters. “But there is also a massive risk of civilian harm if Russian troops and tanks drive over Ukrainian positions and take over more Ukrainian territory and subjugate more Ukrainian civilians because Ukraine doesn’t have enough artillery,” he said.
Reznikov said the army would not use cluster munitions in urban areas and would use them only “to break through enemy defense lines.”
Russia, Ukraine and the United States have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of weapons.
Spain, a signatory to the convention, said it opposed the decision.
“Spain, based on the firm commitment it has with Ukraine, also has the firm commitment that certain weapons and bombs cannot be handed over under any circumstances,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles told reporters at a rally in Madrid. Saturday.
Britain is also a signatory to the convention that bans the production or use of cluster munitions and discourages their use, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.
“We will continue to do our part to support Ukraine against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion,” he told reporters on Saturday.
Biden defends delivery of US cluster bombs to Ukraine
The United States will provide cluster munitions to Ukraine as part of a new military aid package: AP sources
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