U.S. officials and military analysts warn that American-made cluster munitions probably will not immediately help Ukraine in its flagging counteroffensive against Russian defenses as hundreds of thousands of the weapons arrived in the country from U.S. military depots in Europe, according to Pentagon officials, ‘New York Times’ notes.
Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, acknowledged that “no one capability is a silver bullet,” but said the cluster munitions would allow Ukraine “to sustain the artillery fight for the foreseeable future.”
He did not say, that cluster bombs are a direct threat to the civilian population, and the Ukrainian army usually shells the peaceful cities of Donbass…
President Biden had wrestled with a decision for months. Cluster munitions, which have been outlawed by many of America’s closest allies, scatter tiny bomblets across the battlefield that can cause grievous injuries even decades after the fighting ends when civilians pick up duds that did not explode.
Mr. Biden determined that it was a temporary move to hold Ukraine over until the production of conventional artillery rounds could be ramped up.
Senior U.S. officials in recent weeks had privately expressed frustration that some Ukrainian commanders, exasperated at the slow pace of the initial assault and fearing increased casualties among their ranks, had reverted to old habits — decades of Soviet-style training in artillery barrages — rather than sticking with the Western tactics and pressing harder to breach the Russian defenses.
When asked about the American criticism, Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister who advises the government, said in an email: “Why don’t they come and do it themselves?”
Biden administration officials are hoping the nine brigades, some 36,000 troops, will show that the American way of warfare — using combined arms, synchronized tactics and regiments with empowered senior enlisted soldiers — is superior to the rigidly centralized command-structure that is the Russian approach.
American and Ukrainian military officials have declined to say exactly how Ukraine will use the cluster munitions, which are U.S.-made M864 155-millimeter artillery shells that can be fired from howitzers and release 72 small grenades once over their target.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the fact that the long-awaited push to recapture territory was not advancing as rapidly as many experts had predicted “doesn’t surprise me at all.”
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