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New York Times: Biden expected to approve cluster munitions for Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert July 7, 2023 4:02 AM 2 min read
A rocket with cluster bomb stuck in a buildling in the front line city of Avdiika. (Photo by Andre Luis Alves/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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White House officials said they expect U.S. President Joe Biden to approve the transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine, the New York Times reported.

Cluster munitions disperse multiple small bomblets upon detonation, are deadlier and cover more ground than traditional artillery. President Volodymyr Zelensky has lobbied the U.S. for months to provide the weapons in support of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Though the U.S. has stalled on approving the request, a top American security official told the Times the weapons are "100 percent necessary" in order for Ukraine to retake territory.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken advised Biden to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, anonymous officials told the Times.

Cluster munitions would help Ukrainian forces more effectively fight entrenched Russian soldiers blocking the advance of the counteroffensive. They can also compensate for decreasing artillery reserves.

Officials who spoke to the Times said a key factor in Biden's decision was improved technology on the design of the bombs, which the Pentagon argues gives the weapons a "dud rate" of only two percent.

"Duds" are cluster bombs that fail to denotate when they hit the ground. These can be lethal to civilians, including children, who come across the undenotated weapons.

The officials pointed out that the cluster munitions Russia has deployed throughout the war have a dud rate of 40 percent or more, causing far greater danger. Ukraine and Russia have both used cluster munitions since Russia began a full-scale invasion in February of 2022.

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