Spain has strongly objected to the delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine, stating that they should not be used “under any circumstances,” according to Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles. This statement comes in response to the recent announcement by the United States that it will be sending these controversial weapons to Ukraine due to a shortage of conventional shells.
Robles emphasized Spain’s commitment to Ukraine and stressed that certain weapons, including cluster bombs, should not be delivered. She stated, “Spain says no to cluster bombs and yes to the legitimate defense of Ukraine, which we understand should not be carried out with cluster bombs.” Her remarks echo the concerns of many countries that have banned cluster munitions for their indiscriminate and long-lasting harm to civilians.
Cluster munitions are designed to scatter many small submunitions, or “bomblets,” over a wide area. However, these submunitions often fail to detonate immediately, posing a serious threat to civilians long after the conflict has ended. More than 120 countries have banned the use of cluster munitions, including Germany and the UK, but the US, Ukraine, and Russia are not party to the ban.
The decision of President Joe Biden to authorize the delivery of these weapons has drawn criticism from Germany and the UK. However, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan defended the decision, stating that it was necessary to address the current shortage of conventional shells until Ukraine’s Western allies can increase production. President Biden himself acknowledged the difficulty of the decision, citing Ukraine’s dire need for ammunition.
Russia, on the other hand, dismissed the news, referring to cluster bombs as yet another weapon that the US and Ukraine are utilizing without considering the devastating consequences. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the US of becoming complicit in mining Ukrainian territory and holding responsibility for the deaths of both Russian and Ukrainian children.
The delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine has raised concerns about the potential humanitarian impact of these weapons. The international community has long recognized the severe dangers associated with cluster bombs, particularly their impact on civilian populations. The indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions and their long-lasting remnants have led to widespread condemnation and efforts to eradicate their use.
Spain’s firm opposition to the delivery of cluster munitions aligns with the global consensus on the need to ban these weapons. As the conflict in Ukraine continues, it is crucial that all parties involved prioritize the protection of civilians and adhere to international humanitarian law. Providing lethal weapons that pose significant risks to innocent lives contradicts these principles and undermines the efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.