Controversial US Cluster Munitions: In a significant and anticipated development, Brig. Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavsky of Ukraine has confirmed that the much-debated American-made cluster munitions, previously agreed upon for supply to Kyiv, have arrived in Ukraine. This revelation has also been corroborated by the Pentagon. The presence of these controversial munitions on Ukrainian soil has raised eyebrows due to their ban in over 100 countries worldwide.
The Arrival of Cluster Munitions in Ukraine
“We just got them, we haven’t used them yet, but it can radically change (the battlefield),” stated Brig. Gen. Tarnavsky during an interview with CNN in central Ukraine. He heads the “Tavria” Joint Forces Operation, responsible for a large section of the southern Ukraine front. The general highlighted the potential advantage these cluster munitions could provide to Ukrainian forces, stating that their acquisition had sparked concern among Russian counterparts.
Cluster Munitions Controversy and Assurances
The delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine has generated controversy due to their widely recognized humanitarian concerns. These munitions, while praised by Ukrainian forces battling against Russian aggression, are banned by numerous international agreements and treaties. Ukrainian officials have sought to allay concerns by committing in writing to use these munitions only in appropriate locations. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized Ukraine’s commitment to record the usage of cluster munitions, prioritize demining efforts, and avoid their deployment near civilian populations.
Ukraine’s Progress and Challenges
Brig. Gen. Tarnavsky shed light on Ukraine’s ongoing military operations, acknowledging the scale of their offensives while admitting that progress has been more modest than desired, particularly in the southern region. The general attributed Ukraine’s slower counteroffensive to Russia’s extensive preparations, which included laying dense minefields and deploying powerful landmines and high-explosive warheads. These formidable obstacles have hindered movement and endangered Ukrainian demining equipment, necessitating laborious manual demining operations.
Adapting Strategies for Success
To overcome these challenges, Ukraine has strategically adjusted its approach, placing particular emphasis on making progress along the southern front. With limited supplies of the standard 155mm artillery round, Ukrainian forces have economized their artillery usage and focused on maneuvering through treacherous minefields. The ongoing conflict has witnessed relentless artillery barrages from both sides. Brig. Gen. Tarnavsky drew a metaphorical comparison to boxing, explaining that Ukraine aims to keep opponents at arm’s length to avoid close combat, which presents different complexities. Instead, they strive to strike deep into enemy territory, targeting command and control nodes. This strategy has already yielded successful outcomes.
Impact on the Russian Controversial US Cluster Munitions
Recent battlefield victories have had a destabilizing effect on the Russian side. One notable incident involved the injury and subsequent death of Lt. Gen. Oleg Tsokov, a rising star in the Russian military. Reports suggest that Tsokov fell victim to a strike by a long-range British Storm Shadow cruise missile on a hotel housing the 58th Army’s reserve command post in the Russian-occupied city of Berdyansk. While Brig. Gen. Tarnavsky refrained from providing specific details about Tsokov’s demise, he affirmed that the appropriate military commander faced the consequences of his actions.
Additionally, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, has disappeared from the Russian scene, benefiting Ukraine’s position. Prigozhin seemingly incurred the wrath of Russian President Vladimir Putin after staging a short-lived rebellion. Brig. Gen. Tarnavsky acknowledged the Wagner Group’s significance as a formidable organization but highlighted the ensuing confusion and chaos within Russian ranks. These events and internal divisions have had a positive impact on the progress and state of Ukrainian operations.
Conclusion Of Controversial US Cluster Munitions
The arrival of the controversial US cluster munitions in Ukraine marks a critical development in the ongoing conflict. While their usage raises concerns due to their prohibition in many countries, Ukrainian forces view them as potential game-changers on the battlefield. Ukrainian officials have assured the international community that these munitions will be used responsibly, with a commitment to avoiding civilian areas and prioritizing demining efforts.
Despite encountering formidable obstacles posed by Russian-prepared minefields, Ukraine continues its efforts to make progress, strategically targeting command and control centers. Recent losses suffered by prominent Russian military figures and internal divisions within their ranks have further bolstered Ukraine’s position. The situation remains fluid, with both sides striving for an advantageous outcome in this protracted conflict. The utilization of cluster munitions, while controversial, adds another dimension to the evolving dynamics of the conflict in Ukraine.
Our Reader’s Queries
Are cluster munitions banned in the US?
The convention bans the use, creation, production, procurement, accumulation, or transfer of cluster munitions. Russia, Ukraine, and the United States have not agreed to the convention. The United States has not agreed because it wishes to preserve the ability to use these munitions in urgent combat situations.
When was the last time the US used cluster munitions?
Cluster munitions were most recently utilized by the US during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There was one isolated incident in Yemen in 2009. The US did allocate funds for the production of new cluster munitions in 2007, but they have only been made for international sales since then.
Is the US to include controversial cluster munitions in the new Ukraine weapons package?
The U.S. plans to include contentious cluster munitions in a new weapons package for Ukraine, aiming to boost Kyiv’s military advantage. The Biden administration is set to unveil the package, which Ukrainian officials have been requesting, on Friday. This move is expected to provide Ukraine with the weaponry it needs to strengthen its position in the ongoing conflict.
How many cluster bombs does USA have?
The United States has a stash of cluster munitions holding approximately 1 billion submunitions.