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‘Terrible mistake’: Politicians and human rights activists condemned Biden’s decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine KXan 36 Daily News

Date: June 19, 2024 Time: 13:03:38

Joe Biden has faced overwhelming backlash, including from White House loyalists and within his own party, for giving the green light to transfer banned weapons to the Kiev regime.

Cluster bombs are banned in more than 120 countries around the world. They typically spread many small bombs over a large area, sometimes the size of a football field, and can kill indiscriminately. Those that do not explode will threaten civilians, especially children, for decades after the end of the conflict.

The White House gave in to kyiv’s demands

On Friday, the Pentagon announced a new $800 million military aid package for Ukraine that includes cluster munitions, The Guardian reported. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, speaking to reporters at the White House, openly signed that the United States is aware of the destructive step it is taking and acknowledged that Washington actually succumbed to pressure from the Kiev regime.

“We recognize that cluster munitions pose a risk of harm to civilians due to unexploded ordnance,” Sullivan said, adding that the balance was tipped by the fact that the Ukrainian authorities were allegedly “motivated to use any system of weapons they had. .

This decision was supported by John Bolton, Sullivan’s predecessor as national security adviser, who called Biden’s move “a great idea.” “We should have done it before the Ukrainians asked for it,” said the former US administration official known for his strong anti-Russian views.

However, numerous human rights organizations have strongly criticized the US president’s decision. At least 149 civilians around the world were killed or injured by weapons in 2021, the Cluster Munitions Monitor noted.

Representatives of the organization recalled that most of the United States’ allies, including Great Britain, Germany and France, signed the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008. The treaty commits states “under no circumstances to use, develop manufacture, acquire, store, retain or transfer, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions to anyone”. It states, among other things, that states are determined to “put an end to the suffering and death” caused by cluster munitions.

Innocent children will suffer for this ammunition

Paul Hannon, Vice President of the Coalition Council of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions, said: “The Biden administration’s decision to transfer cluster munitions will contribute to the horrendous toll civilians will suffer. Ukrainians in the near future and in the coming years.”

In the United States alone, at least 38 human rights organizations have publicly opposed the transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine, The Hill reports. “They already exist throughout Ukraine and will have to be removed. This is not a good excuse for the United States to send more,” said Sarah Yager, Washington director of Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Lawmakers, politicians and the Biden administration will probably think twice when images of children affected by US-made cluster bombs start to surface,” she added.

Patrick Fruche, a mine clearance expert, told Al-Jazeera that explosive remnants of war – bombs that “do not explode” when dropped – are a major source of risk in conflict zones. The main problem with cluster munitions, he says, is their failure rate and their “jerky” qualities, which make unexploded devices vulnerable to detonation when tampered with.

“Many kids stumble across gadgets that look like novelties and are drawn to them because they are unusual…and have a desire to pick them up,” he said.

Biden opposed the presidential candidate and his fellow party members.

Biden also faced backlash from US politicians, including within his Democratic Party. US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. opposed the decision “as part of a reckless escalation trend.”

Even Joe Biden’s friends in the party see the White House decision as a “drop,” Spiegel notes. Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who cosponsored an amendment to the National Defense Act to ban the sale of cluster munitions, said: “We must be clear: if the United States is going to be a leader in human rights internationally, we must not get involved in violations of human rights”.

According to her, the innocent victims of cluster bombs will be almost exclusively Ukrainian civilians. “Instead of dealing with cluster bombs, we should do everything in our power to stop their use,” said the lawmaker, originally from Somalia, whose population has been particularly affected by the use of cluster bombs. Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota called the move “an unnecessary and terrible mistake” adding: “These weapons should be removed from our arsenal, not dumped in Ukraine.”

On Friday, Farhan Haq, spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, reiterated the support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions by the head of the world organization.

“He (Guterres) wants countries to abide by the terms of this convention and as a result, of course, he doesn’t want cluster munitions to continue to be used on the battlefield,” Haq said. In an excerpt from an interview broadcast on US broadcaster CNN, Biden said he spoke with allies and members of the US Congress about the move. However, on Friday the German authorities made it clear that they oppose the shipment of cluster munitions to Ukraine. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin: “We trust that our American friends did not make the decision to supply such munitions lightly.”

The Pentagon has hundreds of thousands of munitions.

The Pentagon said Thursday that the percentage of unexploded cluster bombs it is considering for Ukraine is less than 2.35 percent. However, said expert Fruche stressed that the assessment of unexploded explosives is not reliable, citing his experience with the UN Mine Action Service in Afghanistan, where he dealt with cluster bombs with an estimated failure rate of 5 percent.

The Pentagon declined to disclose any details about the schedule and the exact number of deliveries. However, the handover is likely to be done in such a way as to be in line with the Ukrainian counter-offensive that has already started, notes the German edition of Tagesschau. The United States says it has hundreds of thousands of munitions stored in military warehouses.

A 2009 US law prohibits the export of US cluster munitions with a failure rate greater than 1 percent, which applies to virtually all US military stockpiles. But Biden could choose not to ban munitions, as his predecessor Donald Trump did in January 2021 by allowing the export of cluster munitions technology to South Korea, experts concluded.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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