Keeping to the thread of concrete internationalist analysis including in the face of cluster munitions delivered to Ukraine


Catherine Samary

July 18, 2023

1-Even if there are specific differences between various types of weapons that legitimise global campaigns to ban them, the same weapons can be used to attack and dominate peoples or to defend themselves. This is true on the whole, even if it has always been the great dominant powers that have organised the production and use of weapons: the vital need to defend oneself has extended their use to various protagonists. War crimes and crimes against humanity are committed with all kinds of weapons - conventional or not.

2- Only a concrete political analysis of armed conflicts and the orientations of their protagonists allows us to make a judgement on the nature of a conflict and the use made of various weapons. The distinction between aggressors and aggressed is essential in all cases - without giving any recipe or single scenario as to how to defend oneself - with or without weapons, and according to which socio-political strategy of resistance. This applies to Ukraine and its right to self-defence with all the weapons it receives.

3- The Ukrainian Defence Minister has specified the 5 principles that the Ukrainian government undertakes to follow in the use of the cluster munitions requested:

  1. Ukraine will only use these munitions for the de-occupation of its internationally recognised territories. These munitions will not be used on the officially recognised territory of Russia.
  2. We will not use cluster munitions in urban areas (cities) in order to avoid risks to the civilian population - they are our citizens, they are Ukrainians whom we have a duty to protect. Cluster munitions will only be used in areas where there is a concentration of Russian troops. They will be used to pierce enemy defence lines with minimum risk to the lives of our soldiers. Saving the lives of our troops, even during extremely difficult offensive operations, remains our absolute priority.
  3. Ukraine will keep strict records of the use of these weapons and the local areas where they are used.
  4. On the basis of these records, once our territories have been de-occupied and we have won the war, these territories will be prioritised for mine clearance. This will enable us to eradicate the risk posed by unexploded cluster munition components. The Ukrainian Defence Minister is legally the head of the national demining agency. In this capacity, I will ensure the implementation of the legal framework necessary for the demining process after our victory.
  5. We will report to our partners on the use of these munitions and their effectiveness in order to guarantee an appropriate level of transparency and control.

4- Transparency and control. This is what the Ukrainian resistance is calling for. And it is also necessary for the denunciation of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Let us support the demands of the independent Ukrainian media for access to the combat zones: "transparency and control". It is the people directly affected who will best be able to judge what the Ukrainian authorities have publicly committed themselves to.