European country seeks to supply with cluster bombs them armed forces of Ukrainejudging that the highly controversial weapons — whose use by Russia has sparked criticism — would be useful on the battlefield, an official said Wednesday.
The European government official, speaking on condition that neither he nor his country be named, explained that his government has already approved the delivery and has now taken the initiative to secure the consent of Germany, a state involved in the production and therefore must give permission for their re-export.
Earlier on Wednesday, Berlin made it official that it would send and other governments would send heavy tanks to the Ukrainian army, whose leadership had been persistently asking for them for months.
Cluster munitions consist of a carrier (bomb, shell) inside which are so-called “submunitions”, which are dispersed over a large area. By their nature, anything but precision weapons are responsible for countless civilian deaths.
Their use and transfer were theoretically prohibited by the Oslo Convention (2008), which has been signed by a large part of Western countries. But the Kremlin has not signed the convention and the UN has repeatedly expressed strong concern over the use of such weapons in populated areas after the Russian military invaded Ukrainian territory on February 24, 2022.
According to the European official, cluster bombs have improved and the West must look “to the future” in terms of its support to Kyiv, that is, to supply weapons capable of preventing any Russian military advance.
“The Ukrainians are asking for them. These are legal guns. Collateral losses are no longer so great. They were particularly big in the 1940s and 1950s; today they are much more manageable,” the European official argued during a visit to Washington.
“The Russians have used weapons of all kinds that are 100 times worse than cluster bombs,” he added, adding that Ukraine “must win the war.”
But securing the German government’s consent may take time, he acknowledged.
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