Russian casualties will rise rapidly as Ukraine makes use of US-supplied cluster munitions, a former Ukrainian military adviser has said. news weekas Washington said kyiv is using the controversial weapons “effectively” against Moscow’s forces.
After months of debate, the US agreed to send Dual-Purpose Enhanced Conventional Munitions (DPICM), a type of cluster munition, to Ukraine, which Kiev had long requested.
US President Joe Biden told CNN that Washington had made the “difficult” decision to provide the weapons because “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.”
Military experts described cluster munitions as powerful tools that would surely help Ukraine in its ongoing counter-offensive against Kremlin fighters in southern Ukraine. Deadly against infantry troops, they also allow Ukraine to deal more damage to Russian targets with the same number of attacks.
Cluster bombs disperse submunitions over a wide area, raising concerns that civilians are in danger. Cluster munitions are banned in more than 120 countries under the Oslo Convention, although the US, Ukraine and Russia are not signatories to the agreement banning their production, use or stockpiling.
Both Russia and Ukraine have used cluster bombs in the ongoing war thus far. Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the regional military administration in the disputed Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, said on Sunday that Russian forces had used cluster bombs to attack the town of Chasiv Yar in Donetsk.
On Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the White House had “received some initial feedback from the Ukrainians and they are using it quite effectively.”
“This is powerful artillery that we have given them,” Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh also told reporters on Thursday.
“Even the last few days have shown that the DPICMs are a ‘game changer,’ according to Daniel Rice, a former special adviser to Ukraine’s top commander, General Valery Zaluzhny.
Over the next few weeks, the DPICMs will replace the high-explosive (HE) shells previously given to Ukraine, greatly increasing the damage Kiev’s fighters can cause with artillery such as 155mm howitzers, Rice said. news week. The United States has provided nearly 200 of the 155mm howitzers for Ukraine to date.
DPICMs are effective against both personnel and armored targets, he said.
The governor of the Belgorod region in eastern Ukraine claimed on Telegram that kyiv had used cluster weapons on Saturday.
Experts say that DPICM rounds have several advantages over HE ammunition, including coverage of a wider area and prolonging the life of artillery guns that fire the rounds.
The switch from HE rounds to DPICM will cause a “massive increase in Russian casualties,” Rice said, and both sides are likely to change tactics to accommodate these rounds in Ukraine’s counteroffensive operations.
Throughout the war and the ongoing counter-offensive, both sides are believed to have racked up high casualties, though neither Moscow nor kyiv publish an updated tally of their losses.
On Sunday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in an operational update that Russia had lost 241,960 fighters since the start of all-out war in February 2022.
news week has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment by email.