The Biden administration announced plans to primarily send M864 155-millimeter artillery shells, known as Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM), which dispense smaller explosive weapons over an area to attack personnel and vehicles, reversing a previous decision to withhold the weapons.
“Cluster bombs are munitions so horrific for civilians that more than a hundred nations have signed an international treaty banning them,” Kennedy, who is challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in the 2024 election, posted on Twitter. “Now the Biden administration is preparing to send them to Ukraine.”
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“These munitions scatter bomblets across the landscape,” Kennedy said in a follow-on post. “Many fail to explode — until children pick them up later. They have caused thousands of injuries and deaths to civilians.”
Cluster munitions are weapons that release or eject smaller submunitions over a wide area. They are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehicles, but they pose a significant risk to civilians as well.
Cluster munitions work by releasing a large number of submunitions, or bomblets, from a single container. The bomblets are typically dispersed over an area of several football fields, and they can be armed with a variety of different warheads, including anti-personnel, anti-tank, and incendiary.
When a cluster munition is released, the bomblets are dispersed by either a parachute or a spinning disc. The bomblets are designed to explode on impact, but a significant number of them often fail to detonate. These unexploded bomblets can pose a deadly hazard to civilians long after the conflict has ended.
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Cluster munitions are controversial because of their indiscriminate nature. They can kill or injure civilians who are not directly involved in the conflict, and they can also leave behind a dangerous legacy of unexploded bomblets.
The use of cluster munitions is prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which was adopted in 2008. However, not all countries have ratified the Convention, and cluster munitions are still used in some conflicts.
The United States, Russia, and Ukraine are among the countries that have not signed on.
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