Biden says sending cluster munitions to Ukraine ‘difficult decision’


US President Joe Biden said Friday that sending cluster munitions to Ukraine for the first time was a “difficult decision” but he believes Kyiv needed them as it was running out of ammunition.

“It was a very difficult decision on my part. And by the way, I discussed this with our allies, I discussed this with our friends up on the Hill,” Biden told CNN.

Noting that Ukrainians were “brutally attacked” by cluster munitions, he said: “This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it.”

“And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to, not permanently, but to allow for this transition period, while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians,” he said. “They’re trying to get through those trenches and stop those tanks from rolling. But it was not an easy decision.”

“We’re not signatories to that agreement, but it took me a while to be convinced to do it,” he said.

The White House announced Friday the approval of the transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine, with written assurances to use the munitions “in a very careful way, that is aimed at minimizing any risk to civilians,” according to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the $800 million package includes additional precision aerial munitions, munitions for multiple launch rocket systems, 155mm howitzers, 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, air defense munitions, anti-tank missiles and rockets, more armored Bradley and Stryker vehicles and other equipment essential to strengthening Ukrainian forces on the battlefield.

The munitions are banned by more than 100 countries, including the UK, France and Germany, under the UN’s Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2008.

The US, Russia and Ukraine are not signatories to the ban.__The Nation