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Decisions on Cluster Munitions Proves US and Allies' Desperation in Ukraine Conflict: Veteran

© U.S. Air Force photoUS B1 bomber dropping cluster bombs.
US B1 bomber dropping cluster bombs. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 13.07.2023
Washington's decision to supply cluster munitions has riled-up human rights groups as these weapons can cause civilian casualties decades after the end of hostilities in a war zone.
The Joe Biden administration's move to offer controversial cluster bombs to Kiev shows the desperation of Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies, an Indian military veteran has said.

NATO Allies Not Aligned

The remarks of Major General Sanjay Soi (Retd) come at a time when sharp differences have emerged between NATO allies over supplying cluster weapons to Ukraine with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak publicly announcing that the UK, unlike the US, would not comply with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky's request for these bombs.
Sunak also pointed out that London was a member of the international convention that disallows the production and usage of cluster munitions.
Although Biden has defended the development, calling it a "difficult decision", concerns over the matter have grown among Democrats, with one of the US president's party members describing it as a "terrible mistake".
Against this backdrop, Soi told Sputnik on Wednesday that the decision to supply cluster bombs to Kiev shows the desperation on the part of Ukraine and Western countries, especially the US.
"Because NATO probably is not able to supply Zelensky's forces with conventional artillery ammunition, something Ukraine is running short of at present, the US and its alliance partners have taken this desperate call," Soi added.

Cluster Munitions: Synonym of Destruction

A cluster bomb releases a large number of bomblets from a rocket artillery shell or bomb and many of them at times remain in an unexploded form. That's why it can be dangerous for civilians or children who are playing outside their homes.
They also renders the area useless as it cannot be used for a long time because cluster bombs tend to cover an extensive land mass which is extremely difficult to demine or clear. And this subsequently results in denying the civilians access to a sizable portion of land for agriculture and other activities related to day-to-day life.
Recalling the destruction the cluster bombs caused in previous military conflicts, Soi noted that these types of munitions were extensively deployed during the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Vietnam operations by the US.

America's Dark History in Cluster Bombs

As per a report, US action left behind at least 80 million unexploded shells and ammunition in Vietnam, with thousands dying in the Southeast Asian country as a consequence.
In the 1960s and 1970s, two other Asian nations faced the brunt of America's military actions with the Pentagon launching airstrikes featuring cluster bombs against Laos and Cambodia.
To date, the two sovereign states bear the consequences of unexploded cluster bombs that have seriously impacted the local population.
Both Laos and Cambodia have slammed the US for sending cluster munitions to Kiev.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Laos labeled the nation as the "largest victim of cluster munitions," before calling on all counties to "refrain from all use, production, transfer, and stockpiling" of cluster weapons.
In this light, the Indian Defense expert mentioned that 10 to 40 percent of cluster munitions don't explode when dropped from warplanes, military choppers, or from the ground and are a threat to the people, especially children and the civilian population who may be harmed when these unexploded shells detonate.

"This is precisely the reason that more than 100 countries have banned these bombs. In fact, several NATO+ countries like the UK, and Japan have voiced their opposition to cluster bombs," Soi elaborated.

Kiev Cannot Be Trusted

The former Indian Army officer pointed out that Russia has resisted deploying cluster bombs in Ukraine, but it has the potential to use these munitions if this kind of arms race which is currently being propagated by the US was encouraged. If that happens, it will result in wide-scale destruction and casualties to the civilian population.
"Kiev cannot be trusted on the usage of cluster munitions because once the civilian population who would have left the war zone during the conflict would return to their homes someday. And if that area has been bombed using cluster weapons, there would be a large number of casualties among the civilian population," the geopolitical analyst opined.
Despite causing casualties to the opposing army, causing deaths of civilians is against the Geneva Convention, the retired Major General summed up.