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Ukraine asks US for cluster munitions for drones – Reuters

Kiev reportedly wants MK-20 cluster bombs, a type of weapon prohibited in more than 100 countries

Ukraine has doubled down on its requests for controversial cluster munitions to be dropped on Russian troops from drones, Reuters reported on Monday, citing US lawmakers. The weapons are banned in more than 100 countries due to the high risk they present to the civilian population.

According to Democratic Representatives Jason Crow and Adam Smith, who sit on the House Armed Services Committee, Kiev has urged Congress to press US President Joe Biden’s administration to approve the deliveries.

The US is barred from exporting such weapons by law, and there is no certainty that the White House would support the move.


Ukraine is particularly seeking MK-20 cluster bombs which could be dropped from drones, in addition to the 155mm artillery cluster shells Kiev had already requested, the lawmakers told the agency. They said the plea came at last month’s Munich Security Conference.

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FILE PHOTO. A worker leans on cluster munitions at a decommissioning facility in Germany.
NATO member sending banned cluster bombs to Ukraine – media

MK-20 cluster munitions are delivered by aircraft and release more than 240 submunitions mid-air. According to Smith, the Ukrainian military believes such weapons “have better armor-piercing capability” than assets it has used before.

Cluster munitions are considered controversial as they are capable of dispersing a large number of bomblets over wide areas, posing a high risk to civilians. The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) bans these types of weapons, and is signed by more than a hundred countries. However, neither the US, nor Ukraine, nor Russia are among them.


Ukraine has been asking the US for cluster munitions to fight Russia at least since last autumn, according to Foreign Policy magazine. However, the US has been reluctant to indulge these requests, with US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying in December that “according to our own policy, we have concerns about the use of those kinds of munitions.”

There were multiple reports of Kiev’s use of Soviet cluster weapons in residential areas, both before and after Moscow sent its troops into the country. Most notably last March, a Tochka-U missile with a cluster payload killed more than 20 people and injured dozens of others in Donetsk. Kiev denied responsibility for the attack. Human Rights Watch said in May it could not verify the events.

March 07, 2023 at 01:19PM


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