NEW YORK, July 7. /TASS/. The United States will announce on Friday that it will send thousands of cluster munitions to Ukraine, the Associated Press reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the decision.
According to them, the new military aid package to Kiev is worth up to $800 million.
The Washington Post wrote that the Biden administration’s decision follows months of internal debate over whether to send the munitions, which are banned by the majority of countries. According to the newspaper, the weapon under consideration, an M864 artillery shell, was first produced in 1987. It is fired from the 155mm howitzers the United States and other Western countries have supplied to Ukraine.
According to the Pentagon's latest assessment of more than 20 years ago, the artillery shell has a "dud" rate of around 6%, which means that at least four out of 72 submunitions carried by each shell will remain unexploded on an area of some 22,500 square meters.
Pentagon Spokesman Patrick Ryder announced on Thursday that the United States is poised to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions that pose the least threat to the civilian population. The ones Washington is considering providing will not include older variants with dud rates higher than 2,35%, he said.
When detonated, cluster munitions scatter dozens of small bomblets over a large area. If unexploded, these bomblets will present a threat to civilians for years to come.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed in 2008 and took effect in 2010. By now, 111 countries have joined it. Another 12 nations have signed the document, but have yet to ratify it.
According to Human Rights Watch, the real dud rate of cluster munitions is often way higher than formally declared by the military, potentially leading to numerous casualties among the civilian population.