‘Obviously A Threat’: ABC Anchor Pushes Back On Kirby Over Controversial Cluster Bombs

[Screenshot/This Week/ABC]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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ABC’s Martha Raddatz pushed back Sunday against National Security Council spokesman John Kirby over the administration’s decision to send controversial so-called “cluster munitions” to Ukraine.

The Biden administration announced plans to send M864 155-millimeter artillery shells, commonly known as cluster munitions, to Ukraine. These weapons dispense smaller explosives over an area to attack personnel and vehicles. They are controversial due to the risk posed by “dud” submunitions which could cause harm to civilians long after the war is over, The Washington Post reported.

“The president made the decision to send cluster munitions. They are banned in so many places around the world, including most of our allies. Why send them to Ukraine?” Raddatz asked.

“Simple. This is about keeping Ukraine in the fight. You were just there. You talked to President Zelenskyy about the counteroffensive and in some ways, it’s not going as fast as he would like. They are using artillery at a very accelerated rate, Martha. Many thousands of rounds per day. This is literally a gunfight,” Kirby argued. “They’re running out of inventory.” (RELATED: ‘That’s Crossing A Line’: Dem Rep Warns Biden Admin About Sending Cluster Bombs To Ukraine)

“You’re sending those cluster munitions because we don’t have enough of the kind of munitions they need?” Raddatz pressed.

“That is right.”

“I want to ask you why the U.S. has never banned them before? They’re obviously a threat to civilians if they don’t explode. Why is the U.S. not banning them, period?”

“We are very mindful of the concerns about civilian casualties and unexploded ordinance being picked up by civilians or children being hurt. Of course we’re mindful of that,” Kirby said. “These munitions do provide a useful battlefield capability. And I will remind that while Russia is using them in Ukraine, in an aggressive war on another country — and indiscriminately killing civilians — the Ukrainians will be using these cluster munitions, obviously which have a very low dud rate, but they’ll be using them to defend their own territory, hitting Russian positions … 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.”

The decision to send cluster munitions has been met with global condemnation, with political leaders from Spain and the United Kingdom voicing disagreement with Biden’s decision. The Biden administration, however, was once also opposed to the munitions. Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in 2022 it would be a potential “war crime” if reports that Russia was using the munitions turned out to be true.

More than 100 countries, including France, Germany and the U.K., have banned the use of cluster munitions, according to CNN.