Ukraine Receives Cluster Munitions, Commits to Restricted Utilization

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Ukraine Receives Cluster Munitions, Commits to Restricted Utilization

Ukraine Receives Cluster Munitions, Commits to Restricted Utilization

Ukraine has taken delivery of cluster bombs from the United States, a controversial munition banned in over 100 countries, but has committed to utilizing them solely for displacing concentrations of enemy combatants.

Valeryi Shershen, the spokesperson for the Tavria military district, confirmed on Thursday that the weapons had arrived, as announced by the district's commander, approximately one week after the United States pledged to provide them as part of an $800 million security package. The Pentagon has also acknowledged the delivery.

Moscow has strongly criticized the shipment, with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu cautioning that Russia may consider deploying similar weaponry if faced with their use.

Ukrainian officials argue that the deployment of these cluster bombs is justified in light of Russia's extensive mining of territories it has seized.

Ukraine, more than 500 days into the conflict, has initiated a counter-offensive aimed at capturing clusters of villages in the southeast and regaining control of areas surrounding the eastern city of Bakhmut, which fell under Russian control in May following months of fighting.

Valeryi Shershen, in an interview with U.S.-funded Radio Liberty, expressed the belief that the introduction of these munitions would further demoralize Russian occupying forces and bring about fundamental changes in favor of the Ukrainian armed forces. He assured that the deployment would strictly adhere to legal frameworks and would solely be employed for liberating Ukrainian territories, emphasizing that they would not be used on Russian soil but specifically in areas where Russian military forces are concentrated in order to break through enemy defenses.

During a NATO summit on Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reiterated Ukraine's commitment to these assurances.

Cluster munitions typically release numerous smaller bomblets, resulting in indiscriminate casualties over a wide area. Unexploded bomblets also pose a threat for decades to come.

Both sides in the conflict, triggered by Russia's invasion in February 2022, have accused each other of employing cluster bombs. Notably, Russia, Ukraine, and the United States have not ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use, and transfer of such weapons.

The decision to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine has encountered opposition from Spain and Canada, while Britain has stated its adherence to a convention that discourages the use of such weapons. Certain U.S. Democratic lawmakers have also expressed their concerns.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleskander Musiyenko expects the munitions to be deployed in the south, as the area's commander has confirmed their arrival. Musiyenko believes that the cluster munitions will enhance the capabilities of Ukrainian troops, particularly in breaching and neutralizing enemy defense fortifications.

Deputy Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Ukrainian forces were making progress in the south, forcing enemy troops to redeploy. In the vicinity of Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops have gained ground to the south of the city but have encountered greater challenges to the north.

Russian accounts of the conflict indicate that its forces have repelled 16 Ukrainian attacks in the eastern Donetsk region alone.

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