Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
ad a b
ad ad ad

Can US cluster munitions change course of Russian-Ukrainian war?

Monday 24/July/2023 - 10:13 PM
The Reference
Mahmud al-Batakoshi

In a remarkable development in the Russian-Ukrainian war, the US Department of Defence announced the provision of cluster munitions to Kyiv.

It said the new munitions are part of plans to support Ukraine in its counteroffensive against Russia.

The department added that it counts on the new supplies to change the course of the war, given the ability of these supplies to influence events.

Cluster munitions are containers that open into the air and scatter large numbers of small bombs or explosive sub-munitions, numbering up to 600.

They are characterized by precision guidance, which constitutes a lethal weapon against Russia.

The US tries to maintain the counterattack against Russia which disappointed NATO, with Moscow thwarting all the alliance's plans.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that the American decision is proof of the failure of the counterattack.

Moscow, it added, would not be silent in the face of those threats, especially as they violate the Oslo agreement of 2008.

The agreement, the Russians said, criminalizes the use of cluster munitions.

Decision implications

The decision to provide Ukraine with American cluster bombs has many implications.

It is the last chance for Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, before declaring the failure of the counterattack.

These bombs do not explode as soon as they fall on the ground, which means that Ukrainian forces will use them to break through the Russian defensive lines.

In case of failure, the cluster bombs will hinder any Russian military counter-advance, which means that Ukraine is still an active factor in the war on its territory.

In case Kyiv does not succeed in its attack, it will be forced to reach a peaceful settlement with Russia.

The American decision confirms, according to observers, that there is certainty within military decision-making circles in the US that Ukraine will not make any significant progress against the Russian army in its counterattack.

They add that Western weapons sent to Ukraine did not make any difference in the course of the military operation, and that continuing the Ukrainian attack in this way would incur Kyiv heavy military losses.

Loss of moral ground

Observers believe that these types of munitions are not accurately guided, and therefore may hit areas outside the military target position, or when used in populated areas or close to them.

They add that the munitions will cause the Ukrainians to commit war crimes, which will make them lose the moral ground on which they claim to be based.

The American escalation is met by a deterrent Russian response, as stated in the statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry following the decision to hand over cluster bombs to Ukraine.

Russia, the Foreign Ministry said, may use the same weapon against the Ukrainian forces, which weakens the American decision, and neutralizes its lethal weapon, despite the crises of the Russian army that appeared obvious during the Russian-Ukrainian war, which began on February 24, 2022.