We welcome the US decision to provide Ukraine with the new weapons of liberation that will significantly help us vacate our territories while saving the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said.
Under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, Ukraine has an internationally recognized universal right to self-defense, so we have been officially requesting this type of ammunition for a long time.
In exercising our inalienable right to self-defense, we will continue to strictly comply with all international humanitarian conventions signed and ratified by Ukraine.
It is important to note that the Russian Federation has been using cluster munitions indiscriminately since the first day of the large-scale unprovoked aggression. In February-March 2022, Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine with over a million inhabitants, was relentlessly shelled by Russian cluster munitions.
Our position is simple: we need to liberate our temporarily occupied territories and save the lives of our people. To do this, we have to inflict losses on the enemy – war criminals, rapists and looters – who occupy our territories. The more losses we inflict on them, the more lives of the Ukrainian people we can save.
We are interested in saving the lives of our soldiers. That is why we will continue to do so using all the lethal weapons at our disposal.
On cluster munitions, we have 5 key principles that we will uphold and that we have clearly communicated to all of our partners, including the United States. I personally briefed our American partners on these five principles in writing some time ago.
- Ukraine will use this ammunition only for the evacuation of our internationally recognized territories. This ammunition will not be used on the officially recognized territory of Russia.
- 2. We will not use cluster munitions in urban areas (cities) to avoid risks to the civilian population – these are our people; they are Ukrainians whom we have a duty to protect.
Cluster munitions will only be used in fields where there is a concentration of Russian soldiers. They will be used to break through enemy defense lines with minimal risk to the lives of our soldiers. Saving the lives of our troops, even during extremely difficult offensive operations, remains our highest priority.
- Ukraine will keep strict records of the use of these weapons and the local areas where they will be used.
- Based on these records, priority will be given to these territories for demining purposes after the vacation of our territories and our victory. This will allow us to eradicate the risk posed by unexploded elements of cluster munitions.
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine acts by law as the head of the national demining agency. As such, I will ensure the application of the relevant legal framework for the demining process after our victory.
- We will inform our partners about the use of these munitions and about their effectiveness to ensure the right level of transparency in information and control.
Ukrainian Defense Minister