British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the United Kingdom “discourages” the use of cluster bombs, following President Biden’s decision to send the munitions to Ukraine.
The United Kingdom is one of over 100 countries that have banned weapons under an international treaty that prohibits the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of all cluster munitions.
Sunak, in a video interview shared by BBC on Saturday, emphasized the treaty as his answer on cluster munitions, but said the UK would continue to support Ukraine in other ways.
“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,” he said .
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However, Sunak did not directly call out the US for the decision to send the munitions, choosing his words carefully, while denouncing Russia’s actions.
“Russia’s act of barbarism is causing untold suffering to millions of people,” the prime minister said.
Criticism on the decision came from others as well, including Spain and Russia, whose leaders warned Biden about sending the munitions.
“No to cluster bombs and yes to the legitimate defense of Ukraine,” Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles told Politico, adding “which we understand should not be carried out with cluster bombs.”
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In spite of the global commentary, Biden defended his decision to send cluster bombs to aid in the war effort, saying “it was a very difficult decision on my part,” and that he spoke with allies abroad and on Capitol Hill.
“The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition. I think they needed them,” Biden added, referring to the munitions.
On the other side of the controversy, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is committed to using the weapons cautiously.
“It is important to note that the Russian Federation has been indiscriminately using cluster munitions from day 1 of the unprovoked large-scale aggression,” he said. tweeted.
In addition, former national security adviser John Bolton praised Biden’s decision, calling it an “excellent idea.”
“We should have done it before the Ukrainians were asking for it,” Bolton said.
Sunak is expected to meet with Biden in London on Monday ahead of a NATO summit in Lithuania.
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