Democratic California Rep. Barbara Lee warned the Biden administration about sending cluster bombs to Ukraine during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
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 decision 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.
Lee said cluster bombs should never be used and doing so would be “crossing a line.”
“So, when Putin started using cluster bombs, the Biden White House said that would potentially be a war crime. Do you think that, therefore the U.S. government, the Biden administration, will potentially be engaging in war crimes if this goes forward?” host Jake Tapper asked.
“What I think is that we are — would risk losing our moral leadership. Because when you look at the fact that over 120 countries have signed the convention on cluster munitions saying they should never be used, they should never be used,” Lee said. “And, in fact, many of us have urged the administration to sign on to this convention. And so I’m hoping that the administration will reconsider this because these are very dangerous bombs, they’re dangerous weapons and this is a line that I don’t believe we should cross. (RELATED: Dem Rep Says Biden Deserves Zero Blame For Afghanistan Withdrawal)
More than 100 countries, including France, Germany and the U.K., have banned the use of cluster munitions, according to CNN.