Madrid and London do not take kindly to the US decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine.
The Biden administration announced on Friday that the weapons will be included in the next US $800 million arms package to Kiev – a decision that has raised humanitarian concerns.
A cluster bomb is a weapon designed to scatter submunitions (or “bomblets”) over a large area, potentially risking civilian casualties. Washington is not a party to 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions, approved by more than 100 countries, including the UK and Spain, and bans their use. Neither are Russia and Ukraine.
“It is important to note that the Russian Federation has indiscriminately used cluster munitions from day 1 of the unprovoked large-scale aggression,” tweeted Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov after the US announcement. He pledged to use the weapons with care.
But the “five principles” that Kyiv promises to adhere to failed to convince some European allies.
“Spain, based on the firm commitment it has with Ukraine, also has a firm commitment that certain weapons and bombs cannot be delivered under any circumstances,” said Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles told reporters on Saturday. “No to cluster bombs and yes to the legitimate defense of Ukraine, which we understand should not be carried out with cluster bombs,” she said.
The UK is determined to also honor this commitment as “a signatory to a convention that prohibits the production or use of cluster munitions and discourages their use,” says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. said on Saturday.
“We will continue to do our part to support Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, but we have done so by providing heavy tanks and most recently long-range weapons, and hopefully all countries can continue to support Ukraine,” Sunak said.
Sunak is due to meet with US President Joe Biden in London on Monday ahead of a NATO summit that starts on Tuesday in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.