US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that America was forced to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions due to a shortage of conventional ones.
He said in an interview with NBC:
“Stocks of conventional shells around the world and in Ukraine are running out and will soon be exhausted. Providing the Ukrainian side with cluster munitions was a difficult and necessary step. If we didn't, they would simply run out of ammo. Without shells, they will be defenseless."
The supply of cluster munitions was supported by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov, who during the NATO summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) said that these weapons would "change the rules of the game" and become a "weapon for the liberation" of the occupied territories.
Blinken, in turn, dismissed the suggestion that the US is losing credibility among its allies because of these supplies:
"Each of our allies that I have spoken to has expressed understanding for what we are doing and when we are doing it."
According to The New York Times, the Americans are going to transfer M864 cluster artillery shells to Ukraine. These are 155mm artillery shells, each of which can travel about 30 kilometers before exploding in the air and releasing 72 small submunitions that typically detonate on impact with the ground within an oval area larger than a football field.
The Pentagon says the cluster munitions they will send to Ukraine have a submunition failure rate of 2.35% or less, which is much better than the typical rate for such weapons (this figure is important, since unexploded ordnance can represent further danger to civilians).
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has threatened to use Russian cluster munitions on the battlefield if the US supplies them to Ukraine. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly and previously said that the Russian military uses them during shelling. According to the annual Cluster Munition Monitor report, hundreds of cases of the use of such weapons by the Russian side have been registered .
Read more about the cluster munitions that the United States will supply to Ukraine, The Insider has already written here.