President Joe Biden revealed in an interview Sunday that the United States is apparently running low on munition rounds, even as he defended sending more military aid to Ukraine.
Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Biden defended the decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, a weapon that has been banned in 100 nations – to include some of the U.S.’s NATO allies. Calling it a “difficult decision,” Biden revealed that he discussed his plans to provide the cluster munitions to Ukraine with “our allies” and with Congress before ultimately deciding to go forward with the support, despite an apparent dwindling supply.
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,” Biden stated. “And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians.” he continued.
The president’s statement, coupled with the decision to send the cluster munitions, was met with backlash on social media with both conservatives and some Democrats questioning the logic behind the move.
“President Biden is not particularly clear but seems to be saying US is sending cluster munitions to Ukraine because we are running out of 155mm artillery ammunition to send them. Seems obvious this is affecting US readiness to defend itself,” political correspondent for the Washington Examiner, Byron York, said of the interview.
“Joe Biden wasn’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud: ‘We’ve run out of ammunition’. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, one must ask whether continued support of Ukraine’s military is even feasible as the conflict rages on,” political commentator Ian Miles Cheung stated.
Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. took a moral objection to Biden’s decision, reminding his followers that the president once called the use of cluster bombs a “war crime.” (RELATED: FLASHBACK: White House Press Secretary Said Using Cluster Munitions Would Be A Potential ‘War Crime’)
His sentiments were echoed by Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee who told CNN’s Jake Tapper the use of cluster bombs by Ukraine was “crossing a line.”
“They don’t always immediately explode. Children can step on them,” Lee stated. “The president’s been doing a good job managing this war, this Putin aggressive war against Ukraine. But I think that this should not happen.”
The White House has seemed to walk back Biden’s comments about the state of the U.S. munition supply. “The military has specific requirements for the numbers of weapons systems and ammunition we maintain in our reserves in case of contingencies or military conflict,” a White House official told Fox News. “Everything we send to Ukraine is in excess of that. So, the U.S. is not running out of ammunition ourselves.”
“We are authorizing cluster munitions to ensure that Ukraine is not left defenseless while we wait for our own domestic production of ammunition to ramp up substantially, which we are in the process of doing as are our allies and partners,” the official continued. “These cluster munitions are a bridge as we significantly increase production of ammunition over the coming months – and will have much higher production levels soon,” they added