The US supply of cluster bombs is an act of desperation, claims Anatoly Antonov

TORETSK, UKRAINE - DECEMBER 18: The remains of artillery shells and missiles including cluster munitions are stored on December 18, 2022 in Toretsk, Ukraine. Inhabitants living on the frontline on the outskirts of Toretsk give the location of allegedly dangerous devices to the rescuers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

The escalatory move is also an admission of Ukraine’s failure, a senior Russian diplomat has said

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The US decision to include cluster munitions in its latest batch of military aid to Kiev is an admission of failure and a desperate attempt to stave off defeat, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said on Friday.

“Cluster munitions are a gesture of desperation. Such a measure speaks of the awareness of the United States and its satellites of their impotence,” Antonov told reporters.

He added “They do not want to admit their own setbacks and the failure of the Ukrainian military’s attempts to carry out an offensive against the Russian regions. Therefore, they commit new acts of madness.”

Washington continues to raise the stakes in the conflict “with tenacity worthy of a better use,” Antonov said, calling the current level of US provocations “really off the scale, bringing humanity closer to a new world war.”

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed on Friday that the US will 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 ammunition.

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters at the Pentagon that the decision was driven by “the urgency of the moment” and the desire to keep the Ukrainians fighting. Kiev’s long-heralded offensive has delivered little to no gains in over a month of battles, in which Ukraine lost scores of Western-supplied tanks and other armored vehicles and suffered more than 10,000 casualties, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Antonov said the move by the US ignores concerns from Washington’s allies – most of which have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions – as well as the misgivings of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. 

“What’s striking is the cruelty and cynicism with which Washington approached the issue of transferring deadly weapons to Kiev,” the ambassador 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.”

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