Sorting by


Rishi Sunak refuses to back US decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs

Rishi Sunak has refused to back the US over its decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs in its war against Russia.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the UK is a signatory to an international convention which bans the use of the weapons due to their track record of leaving scattered unexploded munitions that can kill and maim civilians.

President Joe Biden has agreed to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions, claiming it is necessary because their ally is running out of ammunition and will use them to counter Russian tanks.

Speaking at a by-election campaign stop in Selby, North Yorkshire, Mr Sunak was asked for his reaction to the decision.

“Well, the UK is a signatory to a convention which prohibits the production or use of cluster munitions and discourages their use,” he said.

“We will continue to do our part to support Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, but we’ve done that by providing heavy battle tanks and most recently long-range weapons, and hopefully all countries can continue to support Ukraine.

“Russia’s act of barbarism is causing untold suffering to millions of people.

“It’s right that we collectively stand up to it and I’ll be heading off to the Nato summit next week in Vilnius, where we will be discussing exactly this with our allies how we can strengthen our support for Ukraine.”

A woman walks through anti- tank barricades placed on a street as preparation for a possible Russian offensive, in Odesa, on Thursday March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Ukraine says it will use the cluster bombs to counter Russian tanks (Photo: AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Mr Sunak will be meeting Mr Biden in London on Monday ahead of the Nato summit.

The US has argued that Kyiv has provided assurances it will not use cluster bombs in urban areas but some Nato allies are bound to be uneasy over their transfer.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the US for the “timely, broad and much-needed defence aid package” that will “bring Ukraine closer to victory over the enemy, and democracy to victory over dictatorship”.

The munitions are likely to be raised in talks at the summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Tuesday, where talks on Ukraine’s membership bid to Nato will feature.

U.S. President Joe Biden waves from Air Force One as he departs Washington for Dover, Delaware, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., July 7, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Wurm
Mr Sunak is due to meet President Biden ahead of Nato summit (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Wurm)

The weapons deploy a large number of bomblets across a wide area. Unexploded bomblets can continue to pose a threat to civilians long after conflicts end.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits their use or stockpiling because of their indiscriminate effect on civilian populations.

The US, Ukraine and Russia are not signatories. Both Moscow and Kyiv have used cluster munitions so far in the war.

Commons Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood urged the US to “reconsider”.

The Tory MP tweeted: “This is the wrong call and will alienate international goodwill.

“Their use leaves deadly unexploded ordnance over the battlefield, killing & injuring civilians long after the war is over.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button