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27 Dec, 2022 16:13

US adviser to Ukraine calls for banned weapons

Cluster munitions make artillery shells up to 10 times more lethal, US Army veteran Dan Rice told CNN
US adviser to Ukraine calls for banned weapons

Dan Rice, an American adviser to the Ukrainian military, has called on Washington to authorize the delivery of cluster munitions to Kiev to increase its “base lethality” and “win the war” against Russia.

During an interview with CNN last week, Rice, who is officially a special adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces, insisted that the US “really needs to” supply Kiev’s forces with cluster bombs.

They are like throwing “a flame thrower at a bunch of ants” and would “multiply the artillery shells by five to ten times more lethal,” he argued, according to a transcript posted by the channel.

“This is how you increase the base lethality and win the war. If we want to win it, we need to give them something like that,” he told the outlet, calling cluster bombs a “game changer.”

However, he noted that US President Joe Biden’s administration is not currently willing to supply such munitions to Ukraine, as it would anger Western European states that have signed a treaty banning these weapons.

“According to our own policy, we have concerns about the use of those kinds of munitions,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists earlier this month.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) banning these types of weapons was signed by over 100 nations, including most EU member states. Russia, the US and Ukraine have not signed the Convention.

One of the main concerns related to cluster bombs is the large amount of unexploded munitions left behind after strikes which pose a threat to civilians. Rice, however, insists that Kiev forces would use these weapons responsibly and “clean up” after themselves “as soon as they liberate a town.”

Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of using Soviet-made cluster bombs both before and after Moscow launched its military campaign against the country. In March, the Ukrainian army reportedly used a Tochka-U missile with a cluster payload to strike the center of Donetsk, leaving over 20 civilians dead and dozens injured.

In October, Russian officials accused Kiev’s forces of using a cluster munition for the US-made HIMARS rocket launcher to strike a river crossing in Kherson, which killed four civilians, including a journalist. Kiev has denied responsibility for the attacks.

The US is believed to be sitting on a stockpile of cluster munitions but has so far refrained from officially sending any of it to Ukraine. However, even though the export of such weapons has been banned by Congress, media outlets such as Politico have suggested that President Joe Biden and even his Secretary of State Antony Blinken could potentially override this ban.