On July 7, the Biden administration announced that it would send cluster bombs to the Ukrainian military. These bombs are a type of weapon that scatters many small explosives widely over a battlefield. Not only are these horrific weapons designed to wound, mutilate, and kill enemy soldiers, the small bombs can persist long after a war is over. For decades to come, Ukrainian civilians will have to avoid such battlefield sites or risk cluster bomb explosions.
Cluster bombs are such a dangerous weapon that over 100 countries have signed onto the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a treaty that bans the use of cluster bombs in military conflict. This is a treaty that the U.S. has avoided signing onto. Obviously, the U.S. has done so for exactly this reason, so it can use cluster bombs in direct wars or indirect wars such as the one in Ukraine.
To date, Russia has suffered 189,500-223,000 casualties in the war, and Ukraine has suffered 124,500-131,000. The front lines of the war are a daily massacre as both sides pummel each other’s soldiers with heavy artillery. The immediate purpose of the cluster bombs is to kill as many Russian soldiers as possible and bulk up the Ukrainian artillery ammunition, which they have been using at a fast pace bombarding Russian troops. But the deaths of Ukrainians after the war due to unspent or unexploded cluster bombs will be the price paid in blood for the use of this weapon.
This war, sparked by Russian imperialist ambition to dominate Ukraine, has become a brutal site of conflict between the U.S. and the governments allied with it in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on the one hand, and Russia on the other hand. Both sides have shown their willingness to sacrifice hundreds of thousands to win their objectives. Both Ukrainian and Russian people face the consequences of this conflict, though certainly the Ukrainians suffer the worst impact of the war. The shipment of cluster bombs by the U.S. can only serve to increase the bloodshed and turn Ukraine into a more dangerous place once the war comes to an end.