A European country has offered to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, saying the controversial weapons – the use of which Russia has criticized – could be useful on the battlefield, an official said on Wednesday.
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The official from a European country, who asked not to be named or identified, said his government had approved the shipment and was seeking approval from Germany, which is involved in the munitions production.
Berlin also just gave the green light to send tanks to Ukraine, which insisted.
Cluster bombs (BASM) consist of a container, similar to a grenade, containing smaller sized explosive projectiles called “submunitions”. Very inaccurate, they hit a large part of the civilian population.
Their use and transmission are prohibited by the 2008 Oslo Convention, which has been signed by a large part of western countries.
But the Kremlin has not signed the treaty, and the UN has been alarmed by Russia’s use of these weapons in populated areas since the invasion of Ukraine began last year.
According to the European official, cluster bombs have become more sophisticated and the West must be “prescient” in its support for Kyiv, which could use these weapons against any advance of Russian troops.
“The Ukrainians ask about it. These are legitimate weapons. Collateral damage isn’t that important anymore. They were extremely important in the 1940s and 1950s; today they’re more manageable,” the official said during a visit to Washington.
“The Russians used all kinds of weapons that are a hundred times worse than cluster bombs,” he said, assuring that Ukraine “must win the war.”
Getting a decision from Germany could take some time, the official acknowledged.