President Biden’s decision to arm Ukraine with cluster bombs has sparked rare Democratic criticism of his proxy war with Russia, and some of the US’s top NATO allies have also spoken out against the move.
“The decision by the Biden administration to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine is unnecessary and a terrible mistake,” said Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, according to Politico.
“The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death and expensive cleanup generations after their use … These weapons should be eliminated from our stockpiles, not dumped in Ukraine,” she added.
Nineteen House progressives issued a joint statement condemning the move. “Cluster munitions have been banned by nearly 125 countries under the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions because of the indiscriminate harm they cause, including mass civilian injury and death,” the statement said.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) signed on to the statement and criticized President Biden’s decision in an appearance on CNN. “Cluster bombs should never be used. That’s crossing a line,” Lee said.
NATO allies Spain, the UK, and Canada, all parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, have warned against providing Ukraine with cluster munitions. “Spain, based on the firm commitment it has with Ukraine, also has a firm commitment that certain weapons and bombs cannot be delivered under any circumstances,” said Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK will uphold its commitment as a “signatory to a convention which prohibits the production or use of cluster munitions and discourages their use.”
The Canadian government said in a statement that “we do not support the use of cluster munitions and are committed to putting an end to the effects cluster munitions have on civilians — particularly children.”