“Gesture of desperation”: Moscow reacts sensitively to the delivery of cluster munitions

“gesture of despair”
Moscow is sensitive to the supply of cluster munitions

After much deliberation, the US decides to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions. The Russian US ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, reacted with sharp words. Washington would not consider the seriousness of his action.

Russia has described the US-announced delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine as a further escalation in the war. “Washington continues to step up its efforts in the conflict,” Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said, according to the State Department in Moscow. Even without the cluster munitions, the USA is deeply involved in the conflict and is bringing “mankind closer to a new world war”.

The US is so obsessed with inflicting defeat on Russia that it fails to take into account the seriousness of its actions, Antonov said. The delivery of cluster munitions was a “gesture of desperation” with which the US and its allies put their impotence on the day. They did not want to admit their own failures in the Ukrainian counter-offensive against the Russian positions. “That’s why they commit new madness.”

Arming Ukraine has “no impact”

According to Antonov, the use of cluster munitions will increase the number of war victims and only prolong the “death struggle of the Kiev regime”. Washington also disregarded the opinion of its allies, who opposed the use of “indiscriminately” killing cluster munitions. Antonov noted that many NATO members have signed the Cluster Munitions Treaty. Like more than 100 other countries, Germany follows the so-called Oslo Agreement – the USA and Russia do not.

At the same time, Antonov emphasized that the arming of Ukraine with Western weapons would have no impact on “achieving the goals of the military special operation”. That’s what Moscow officially calls the war. According to human rights organizations, Russia uses cluster munitions itself. Nevertheless, the Russian diplomat accused Washington of ignoring warnings from experts and human rights activists against such an “inhumane step”. It will be the fault of the USA that unexploded ordnance endangered civilians for many years.

Guterres opposes US decision

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has also criticized the US decision. Guterres does not want “cluster munitions to continue to be used on the battlefield,” a spokesman for Guterres said on Friday shortly after the US government’s announcement of the decision.

US President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the cluster munitions were intended as a “bridge” to make up for the current shortage of artillery munitions to defend against Russian attacks and to continue Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Ukraine had written assurances that the cluster munitions would be used “very carefully” to “minimize any risk to civilians.” The cluster munitions are part of a new $800 million US military aid package.

Cluster bombs release dozens or even hundreds of smaller explosive devices, many of which do not detonate immediately. They can therefore continue to kill or injure people long after they are dropped and are therefore a particular danger to the civilian population.

An international agreement that came into force in 2010 – the so-called Oslo Convention – bans the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of cluster munitions. However, neither the US nor Ukraine have joined the agreement, nor has Russia. In the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, both warring parties use cluster munitions.

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