Kabul: Germany opposes sending cluster munitions to Ukraine, its foreign minister said on Friday, a day after U.S. officials said Washington was planning to provide Kyiv with the weapons, widely denounced for killing and maiming civilians.
Human rights organisations oppose such a move and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Germany, as one of 111 states party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), did as well. The United States is not a party to the convention.
Asked for a comment on what U.S. officials had said, Baerbock told reporters at a climate conference in Vienna: “I have followed the media reports. For us, as a state party, the Oslo agreement applies.”
Baerbock was referring to the CCM, which was opened for signature in the Norwegian capital in 2008. It bans the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions.
The White House said sending cluster munitions to Ukraine is “under active consideration” but it had no announcement to make. President Joe Biden is to attend a NATO summit next week in Lithuania expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine.
Human Rights Watch called on Russia and Ukraine to stop using cluster munitions and urged the U.S. not to supply them. The group said that both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used the weapons, which have killed Ukrainian civilians.
The munitions typically release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area, threatening civilians. Bomblets that fail to explode pose a danger for years after a conflict ends.
Reporting by Francois Murphy, Editing by William Maclean