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Fact Check: Have US Cluster Munitions Proven Effective Amid Ukraine Counteroffensive?

B-52 Leaflet Bombs InternationalIndiaAfricaWashington has reportedly green-lighted further supplies of cluster munitions to Ukraine even though the first batch of the deadly shells have not helped the Kiev regime make any progress amid its counteroffensive.The Biden administration is due to send a new portion of cluster shells to Ukraine, after the first tranche was shipped to the Eastern European state two months ago. The US press claims that cluster munitions do work on the Ukrainian battlefield, citing August drone footage from Urozhaynoye.Urozhaynoye, a small village in the southwest of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), was indeed subjected to heavy attacks with cluster munitions from the Ukrainian military, according to Russian troops. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian strikes inflicted heavy damage on the residents also.Still, the Ukrainian army failed to seize the village over 72 days of fighting, despite US media claims that the Russians retreated from the settlement in mid-August. On September 5, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the Russian military stopped the actions of the Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group in the area of the village of Urozhaynoye in the DPR.So are cluster munitions really effective?MilitaryUS to Send More Cluster Munitions to Ukraine in Near Future – Reports7 September, 08:16 GMT

What are Cluster Munitions?

Cluster munitions, or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM), are artillery or surface-to-surface missile warheads that release dozens to hundreds of smaller submunitions that can use shaped charges for the anti-armor role and fragmentation for the anti-personnel role.The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster shells as they pose an immediate threat to civilians by randomly scattering submunitions over a wide area while their unexploded remnants could still endanger civilians long after the conflict.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineUkraine Killed Izyum Residents with Cluster Munitions, Data Collected by HRW Shows5 September, 11:28 GMT

Are Cluster Munitions Effective?

Despite opposition from both conservative Republicans and progressive Democrats, the Biden administration shrugged off moral concerns and decided to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions on the premise that the weapons will facilitate the Kiev regime’s breakthrough. However, the breakthrough failed to materialize.»The use of cluster munitions did not lead to any serious operational result,» Konstantin Sivkov,a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Rocket and Artillery Sciences, told Sputnik. «And this is understandable, because cluster munitions are designed to destroy targets that are outside of shelters, and our troops are in shelters. Therefore, they cannot ensure the defeat of these ammunition.»Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineUkraine’s Attrition Rate Suggests Counteroffensive is Over4 August, 15:29 GMT

Will New Cluster Munitions Prompt Ukrainian Breakthrough?

A new batch of cluster munitions won’t make any difference on the battlefield, according to Alexey Sukonkin, a Russian military observer. The Ukrainian military failed to make progress over the past three months despite using the controversial «wonder weapon». There is no indication that the trick will work now.»At the moment, we see that there is practically no progress,» Sukonkin told Sputnik. «There is no operational advance with a breakthrough and with access to the so-called operational space, where there are no obstacles to the movement of advancing troops, there is no such thing at the moment. The transfer of shells with cluster warheads did not particularly change the course of action.»The military observer explained that theoretically, cluster projectiles could be effective only in combination with strikes on fortifications shielding soldiers. However, the Ukrainians rely on indiscriminate shelling of Russian positions which results in no strategic achievements but in multiplied civilian losses. Typically, cluster shells are used against advancing infantry; when it comes to soldiers on the defensive, these weapons are useless, per Sukonkin.Russia’s Special Operation in Ukraine’Dangerous Improvisation’ of Ukrainian Troops With Cluster Shells — Reports28 August, 18:54 GMT

What Does US Press Mean When Calling Them ‘Effective’?

The US press stories about the successful use of cluster weapons in Ukraine is nothing but propaganda, according to Sivkov.»It’s propaganda designed to justify the supply of cluster munitions to Ukraine. Because if you tell the truth, then it raises the question why [these munitions] are supplied?» the military expert said.Moreover, it’s not the first time that the US and its NATO allies have lauded the «outstanding» performance of their weapons in Ukraine, noted Sukonkin.»Yes, they are used, yes, they have some effect. But to talk about a radical change, which could allegedly be made by some kind of weapons there, is wrong, it is pointless,» Sukonkin said.Each time when the military bravado of the Western press and the Ukrainian military become particularly excessive, something happens that brings them down to earth. For instance, after the US media bragging about US-made Patriots «intercepting» the hyper-sonic Kinzhal missiles in Ukraine, one of the aforementioned air-defense systems was spectacularly obliterated by the same Kinzhal. To add to the embarrassment the Patriot crew launched the whole load of its missiles at Kinzhal and failed to stop it, judging from the video which later popped up on the internet.Likewise, the supposedly invincible Challenger 2 tank, which was shown in one Ukrainian video easily overcoming Russia’s dragon’s teeth, a few months later was recorded again, smashed and in thick smoke, somewhere near the Russian defense line.MilitaryChinese Envoy to UN Says Cluster Munitions Could Lead to Humanitarian Disasters in Ukraine24 August, 17:10 GMT

Russia is Standing Its Ground

Despite the fuss in the US media, the Russian military is continuing to methodically grind Ukrainian forces on Russia’s new territories — which joined the nation in the aftermath of a series of referendums in September 2022. Ukraine has so far lost over 66,000 personnel and 7,600 weapons, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Pulitzer Prize-winning Seymour Hersh has quoted a knowledgeable US intelligence official as saying: «The goal of Russia’s first line of defense was not to stop the Ukrainian offense, but to slow it down so if there was a Ukrainian advance, Russian commanders could bring in reserves to fortify the line. There is no evidence that Ukrainian forces have gotten past the first line. The American press is doing anything but honest reporting on the failure thus far of the offense.» The official went on saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been mobilizing his forces based on the US political objectives. «He is running a ‘Great Patriotic War’ and does not care if public opinion polls in America see him as another Adolf Hitler,» the official said, as quoted by Hersh.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineUK-Made Challenger 2 Tank Got First Taste of Combat in Ukraine — and Failed5 September, 18:50 GMT

Ukraine Uses Cluster Shells Against Civilians. Why Doesn’t the US React?

The United States transferred cluster munitions to the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the condition that they would not be used against civilians, but such cases have been confirmed. Why does the US continue to supply the Ukrainian military with these munitions?»[The US] does this because something needs to be transferred, and [Ukrainians] need something to fight with. There were statements that the transfer of cluster munitions is a stopgap measure, because they are seeing a shortage of fragmentation mines and ammunition. And so they opted to use cluster shells,» explained Sukonkin.The observer noted that the NATO-grade weapons are used by the Ukrainian military against civilians on a daily basis, despite claims from Washington and Kiev that this would never happen.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineUkraine Uses Terror Tactics Against Own Troops as Army Runs Out of Motivated Fighters25 August, 18:30 GMTPer Sivkov, US officials are well aware of the Kiev regime’s attacks on civilians and residential areas. However, the subservient American media are covering these facts up.»The assertions that the cluster munitions won’t be used [against civilians] are just an informational cover for these actions, nothing more,» the military expert said. «In fact, the United States clearly understands that Ukraine has used these munitions and will continue to use these munitions against civilians.»Prior to the delivery of American DPICMs, the Ukrainian military loaded their «Tochka-U» missiles with cluster submunitions and struck civilian objects, according to him. It was predictable that the Kiev regime would proceed with this practice after getting US-made cluster shells.While assessing the use of cluster weapons as «effective» the US press nevertheless admits that by embracing cluster munitions, Ukraine and the United States «have opened themselves to human rights concerns» especially given that unexploded cluster submunitions will pose a long-term threat to civilians in the region.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineUkrainian Forces Shell Donetsk With Cluster Bombs and Incendiary Rockets1 September, 12:19 GMT

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