The Biden administration is sending $250 million of weapons to Ukraine and depleting America’s stocks. The equipment will be taken from Pentagon stocks and will include mine-clearing devices, artillery and rockets, medical utensils, and emergency vehicles. Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh announced the measures during a press conference on August 29 and said she is “confident that we have enough money to meet Ukraine’s need through the fiscal year.”
Singh added that the White House remains committed to providing Ukraine with “the capabilities to meet its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements.”
In July, the President admitted that his ongoing support of Ukraine was diminishing US military stockpiles and said we are “low on ammunition.” The Pentagon insisted that the depletion of stocks would not affect America’s military readiness because the donations came from excess supplies.
One weapon provided by the US caused global controversy – cluster bombs. Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, over 100 countries have banned cluster bombs, but neither the US nor Ukraine are signatories. The UK and Spain both pleaded with the Biden administration not to supply the weapons as they place civilian populations at unnecessary risk and could escalate the conflict.
Both the UK and Spain are signatories to the Cluster Munitions convention and told President Biden that the weapons are highly dangerous and should not be utilized. Biden acknowledged it was a “very difficult decision” but said the US was running low on more conventional weaponry and needed to boost Ukraine’s war effort through other means.
Cluster bombs are rockets, missiles, or artillery shells that contain smaller bombs – they detonate midair, spreading the small bombs over a wide area. Many of these don’t explode immediately, meaning they pose a risk at a later date. They can also land unexploded for an unwitting victim to stand on. Human rights groups describe them as “abhorrent,” but they can be militarily effective as they make broad areas too dangerous for troops to occupy.