ABC News’ Martha Raddatz confronted White House spokesman John Kirby over the Biden administration’s decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine despite the risks that their use will lead to civilian casualties.
Raddatz brought up the Pentagon’s announcement about the weapons as she interviewed the National Security Council strategic communications coordinator — noting that cluster munitions are prohibited “in so many places around the world.” Asked why the U.S. is sending them to Ukraine, Kirby answered by saying Ukraine has been using their artillery at a rate of “many thousands of rounds per day,” so the cluster bombs are being temporarily supplied while the U.S. increases up shell production.
“This is literally a gunfight…And so, they’re running out of inventory,” said Kirby. “We are trying to ramp up our production of the kind of artillery shells that they’re using most. But that production rate is still not where we want it to be.”
From there, Raddatz questioned Kirby of why the U.S. (along with Ukraine and Russia) has never banned cluster bombs as over 100 other countries have done. She also alluded to concerns about the dud rate where the bombs fail to explode as expected, which can endanger citizens in the event of a delayed, accidental triggering of the bombs.
“They’re obviously a threat to civilians if they don’t explode,” Raddatz said. “Why is the U.S. not banning them, period?”
Kirby responded, “of course, we’re mindful” about possible civilian casualties, and he said the U.S. is working with Ukraine on de-mining operations. He also insisted that the U.S. cluster bombs will have a “very low dud rate,” and that their bombs will be directed at Russian positions, whereas the Russians have used cluster bombs to “indiscriminately” kill Ukrainian citizens.
“I think we can all agree that more civilians have been, and will continue to be, killed by Russian forces, with whether it’s cluster munitions, drones, missile attacks or just frontal assaults than will likely be hurt by the use of these cluster munitions fired at Russian positions inside Ukrainian territory.”
Watch above via ABC.
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