Ukrainian chronicle: Biden delivers cluster munitions to Kiev

11:00 10.07.2023 • Vladimir Kozin , Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences

1. Moscow expressed strong criticism over cluster munitions to be delivered to Kiev by the USA

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed on July 7, 2023 that the US would be sending dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) to Ukraine. One of the reasons cited was that the West is running short of conventional 155mm artillery shells. Washington also announced its intention to deliver to such unpredictable and failed state another inhuman weapons – cluster munitions prohibited by the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).

The shells, which can be fired from Ukraine’s NATO-supplied 155mm artillery, scatter many small ‘bomblets’ over a wide area, some of which fail to immediately explode and pose severe risks to civilians for years after fighting ends. Cluster munitions are banned by more than 120 countries.

“Through the cluster munition deliveries, Washington de-facto becomes an accomplice in mining [Ukraine’s] territory and will share full responsibility for the deaths… of both Russian and Ukrainian children, Russian MFA stated on July 8. "Washington is well aware that the assurances of Ukrainian Nazis to use these indiscriminate weapons ‘in a careful’ and ‘responsible’ way are worthless. Civilians will be targeted, as it has happened every time when more and more deadly US-NATO weapon systems were sent to Ukraine," the statement said.

“The administration completely ignored the arguments about the inhumanity of such a step voiced by experts, human rights activists and lawmakers, turning a blind eye to civilian casualties. Now, through the fault of the United States, for many years there will be a risk that innocent civilians will be blown up by malfunctioning submunitions,” – Russian Ambassador to the USA Anatoly Antonov said. “What’s striking is the cruelty and cynicism with which Washington approached the issue of transferring deadly weapons to Kiev,” the ambassador outlined. He also added that the move announced by the US ignores concerns from Washington’s allies – most of which have ratified the CCM – as well as the misgivings of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Current Kiev’s military and political junta has already used cluster munitions against civilians in Donbass.

The delivery of such weapons to a real aggressor state that unleashed two successive aggressions – initially against Donbass and later on against Russia – is aimed to continue massive attacks by Armed Forces of Ukraine on civilians in Ukraine and Russia. Their death toll has already exceeded 20,000 persons.

Canada and the UK have become the latest Western nations to voice concern over US President Joe Biden’s decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine. Both countries have reaffirmed their commitment to a UN agreement banning the armaments and spoken against employing them in the current conflict with Russia.

“We do not support the use of cluster munitions,” the Canadian government told the national broadcaster CTV on Saturday. Ottawa is “committed to putting an end to the effects cluster munitions have on civilians – particularly children,” the statement read.

Separately, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told journalists that London also does not support employing cluster bombs. “The UK is a signatory to a convention that prohibits production or use of cluster munitions and discourages their use,” he explained, adding that London would continue to support Ukraine through other means.

Cluster munitions should not be used by Ukraine “under any circumstances,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on July 9. Her comment came a day after the US announced that it would send the controversial ordnance to Ukraine, amid a shortage in conventional shells. “Spain, based on the firm commitment it has with Ukraine, also has a firm commitment that certain weapons and bombs cannot be delivered under any circumstances,” Robles told reporters after a rally in Madrid. Spain says "no to cluster bombs and yes to the legitimate defense of Ukraine, which we understand should not be carried out with cluster bombs,” Robles added, according to Reuters.

All chains of deliveries of cluster munitions to Ukraine and their storage sites should be destroyed very actively by Russian Armed Forces before they will be practically used against cities and other populated areas by AFU, many Russian political figures underscored.

2. US preparing ‘Israel-style’ security guarantees for Ukraine

The US is willing to offer Kiev a sort of security arrangement currently offered to Israel instead of membership in NATO, President Joe Biden told CNN in an interview previewed on July 7. “I don’t think it’s ready for membership in NATO,” Biden said of Ukraine. “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war.”

Membership in the US-led military bloc means a commitment to defend all of its territory, so “if the war is going on, then we’re all in a war. We’re at war with Russia, if that were the case,” Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Ukraine has demanded an invitation from NATO, or at least an announcement of when it might be ready to bring it on board, at the upcoming summit in Vilnius, Lithuania to be held on July 11-12.

The ‘Israel model’ was first mentioned last month by the New York Times, which described it as a time-limited commitment to maintain the flow of Western weapons to Ukraine. The US and its allies have supplied Kiev with over $100 billion in weapons, ammunition, and equipment in 2022 alone, according to Russian military estimates.

3. Ukraine does not have any right to join NATO due to strict criteria

In 1995, the Alliance published the results of a Study on NATO Enlargement that considered the merits of admitting new members and how they should be brought in by meeting certain criteria.

The Study specified that any aspirant state to become a NATO member should: encourage and support democratic reforms, including the establishment of civilian and democratic control over military forces; foster patterns and habits of cooperation, consultation and consensus-building characteristic of relations among members of the Alliance; and promote good-neighbourly relations.

It would also increase transparency in defence planning and military budgets, thereby reinforcing confidence among states, and would reinforce the overall tendency toward closer integration and cooperation in Europe.

According to the Study, countries seeking NATO membership would have to be able to demonstrate that they have fulfilled certain requirements. These include:

  • a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy;
  • the fair treatment of minority populations;
  • a commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts;
  • the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and
  • a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutional structures.


A STRAIGHT-FORWARD QUESTION: Does Ukraine meet all these criteria and requirements for its NATO membership?


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