US-Streumunition für die Ukraine: Aussagen zur Dokumentation (und für die Debatte, m. Nachtrag)

Die Entscheidung der US-Regierung, der Ukraine Streumunition für die Abwehr des russischen Angriffskriegs zur Verfügung zu stellen, wird (nicht nur, aber auch) in Deutschland strittig diskutiert. Zur Dokumentation und für die Debatte einige Aussagen zu der Ankündigung am (gestrigen) Freitag:

• US-Präsident Joe Biden verteidigte die Entscheidung, an der es auch in den USA Kritik gibt, in einem Interview des TV-Senders CNN. Das vollständige Interview wird erst am (morgigen) Sonntag veröffentlicht; der Sender zitierte bereits einige der Aussagen des Präsidenten:

President Joe Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Friday that it was a “difficult decision” to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions for the first time, but that he was ultimately convinced to send the controversial weapons because Kyiv needs ammunition in its counteroffensive against Russia. (…)
“It was a very difficult decision on my part. And by the way, I discussed this with our allies, I discussed this with our friends up on the Hill,” Biden said, adding, “The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.” (…)
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,” Biden said. “And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period, while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians.”

• Der ukrainische Verteidigungsminister Oleksii Resnikow sicherte zu, die Ukraine werde sich beim Einsatz dieser Munition an bestimmte Beschränkungen halten und nicht zuletzt die Nutzung dokumentieren, damit Blindgänger in den betroffenen Gebieten möglichst entschärft werden könnten:

We welcome the decision of the US to provide Ukraine with the new liberation weapons that will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.
Under Article 51 of the UN Charter Ukraine has a universal internationally recognised right to self-defence and thus we have been officially requesting these types of munitions for a long time.
I would like to stress that in exercising our inalienable right to self-defence we will continue to strictly comply with all the international humanitarian conventions signed and ratified by Ukraine.
It is important to note that the russian federation has been indiscriminately using cluster munitions from day 1 of the unprovoked large-scale aggression. In February-March 2022 Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city with over a million population, was relentlessly bombarded by russians cluster munitions.
Our position is simple – we need to liberate our temporarily occupied territories and save the lives of our people. For this we need to inflict losses on the enemy – war criminals, rapists and looters – who are occupying our territories. The more losses we inflict on them the more lives of Ukrainian people we will be able to save.
It is in our interest to save the lives of our soldiers. This is why we will continue to do this using all lethal weapons available to us.
Regarding the cluster munitions, we have 5 key principles which we will abide by and which we have clearly communicated to all our partners, including the US. I have personally informed our US partners about these five principles in writing a long time ago.
1. Ukraine will use these munitions only for the de-occupation of our internationally recognised territories. These munitions will not be used on the officially recognized territory of russia.
2. We will not be using cluster munitions in urban areas (cities) to avoid the risks for the civilian populations – these are our people, they are Ukrainians we have a duty to protect.
Cluster munitions will be used only in the fields where there is a concentration of russian military. They will be used to break through the enemy defence lines with minimum risk for the lives of our soldiers. Saving the lives of our troops, even during extremely difficult offensive operations, remains our top priority.
3. Ukraine will keep a strict record of the use of these weapons and the local zones where they will be used.
4. Based on these records, after the de-occupation of our territories and our victory these territories will be prioritised for the purposes of de-mining. This will enable us to eradicate the risk from the unexploded elements of cluster munitions.
The Minister of Defence of Ukraine is by law acting as the Head of the national de-mining agency. In this capacity I will ensure the implementation of the relevant legal framework for the de-mining process after our victory.
5. We will report to our partners about the use of these munitions, and about their efficiency to ensure the appropriate standard of transparent reporting and control.

• Für die russische Regierung, die in der Ukraine Streumunition gegen zivile Ziele eingesetzt hatte, bezeichnete der Botschafter in den USA das Vorgehen als Verzweiflungstat, die die Gefahr eines neuen Weltkriegs erhöhe:

• Bereits vor der offiziellen Bestätigung durch den Us-Präsidenten hatte der Staatssekretär im Pentagon, Colin Kahl, die Entscheidung für die Lieferung begründet:

Some of the capabilities in today’s $800 million drawdown package include 155-mm artillery rounds, including Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions, or DPICMs, and 105-mm artillery rounds, additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, additional Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, additional Stryker armored personnel carriers, precision aerial munitions, demolition munitions and systems for obstacle clearing and various spare parts and operational sustainment equipment.
With this announcement, we will be able to provide Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of additional artillery ammunition immediately. This decision will ensure we can sustain our support for Ukraine by bridging us to a point where we are producing sufficient artillery ammunition on a monthly basis across the coalition. We recognize the complexities here, which is why I want to quickly provide a few additional pieces of information on DPICM.
First, Russia has been using cluster munitions indiscriminately since the start of this war in order to attack Ukraine. By contrast, Ukraine is seeking DPICM rounds in order to defend its own sovereign territory.
Second, compared to Russian cluster munitions, the DPICM rounds we will provide Ukraine have an extremely low failure, or dud rate. The DPICM ammunition we are delivering to Ukraine will consist only of those with a dud rate less than 2.35 percent. Compare that to Russia, which has been using cluster munitions across Ukraine with dud rates of between 30 and 40 percent. During the first year of the conflict alone, Russia fired cluster munitions deployed from a range of weapon systems have likely expended tens of millions of submunitions, or bomblets, across Ukraine.
Third, we’re working with Ukraine to minimize the risks associated with the decision. The Ukrainian government has offered us assurances in writing on the responsible use of DPICMs, including that they will not use the rounds in civilian-populated urban environments and that they will record where they use these rounds, which will simplify later demining efforts. Ukraine also has committed to post-conflict demining efforts to mitigate any potential harm to civilians. The United States has already invested more than $95 million in Ukraine’s demining activities, and we will provide more support to help Ukraine mitigate the impacts of cluster munition use by both sides in this conflict.
And fourth — and this is critical — by providing Ukraine with DPICM artillery ammunition, we will ensure that the Ukrainian military has sufficient artillery ammunition for many months to come. In this period, the United States, our allies and partners will continue to ramp up our defense industrial bases to support Ukraine. For the past year and a half, President Biden has been clear that we will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. I want to commend the tireless efforts of the department, our allies and our partners in delivering this historically-unprecedented level of security assistance.

• Die Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) hat das US-Fachportal The War Zone hier erläutert:

DPICM evolved from the earlier Improved Conventional Munition (ICM) series of cluster munitions. The „dual-purpose“ comes from the fact that the DPICM submunitions, which the U.S. military refers to as „grenades,“ are designed to be at least somewhat effective against armored vehicles, as well as softer targets like unarmored vehicles and troops.
Though there are multiple types of DPICM submunitions, they are all designed in the same basic way, with a shaped charge intended to defeat armor surrounded by a casing specifically structured to send lethal fragments flying in all directions. The submunitions, which are similar in size and weight to a typical hand grenade, are unguided, but each one has a tassel-like piece of cloth at the top that helps stabilize it as it falls. DPICM-filled artillery rounds and other munitions generally eject the submunitions from the rear of the projectile or warhead after it reaches a set point in its trajectory.

• … und zur Abrundung der Debatte eine Einordnung von Frank Sauer von der Bundeswehr-Universität München:

Da hier die Emotionen hochkochen – ein kurzer Thread zu Streumunition/Cluster Munitions aus militärischer, politischer, rechtlicher Sicht.
Militär: Es ist nicht von der Hand zu weisen, dass der Ukraine diese Waffen dienlich wären. Sie gleichen teilweise die zahlenmäßige Unterlegenheit Artilleriesystemen sowie Munition aus, weil sie in der Fläche wirken.
It ain’t pretty, but that’s how it is.
Politisch: Natürlich ist nichts daran verwerflich, dass die Ukraine diese Waffen – aus dem oben genannten militärischen Grund – fordert. Das Land kämpft ums Überleben! In Kiew wurde abgewogen und entschieden, das unvermeidbare Risiko der Blindgänger zu akzeptieren – zumal das ganze Land ohnehin schon mit (weit überwiegend russischen) Minen und Bomblets aus Streumunition voll liegt (siehe die Reports von Human Rights Watch). Vorwürfe der Illegitimität oder gar negative Implikationen für den Pfad zu EU und NATO dürften sich in Grenzen halten, denn die NATO-Staaten USA, Polen und Rumänien haben schließlich Oslo ebenso wenig unterzeichnet wie Estland, Lettland oder das neu hinzugekommene Finnland. Man sollte den Reputationsverlust also nicht zu hoch ansetzen – er ist einer totalen Ausnahmesituation geschuldet!
Legalität: Die Ukraine darf diese Waffen fordern – und die USA dürfen liefern. Beide haben Oslo nicht unterzeichnet.
Hier könnte man die Diskussion beenden – aber damit macht man es sich (in meinen Augen dann doch zu) einfach. Denn aus guten Gründen hat ja das internationale Recht auf das Problem der Blindgägner mit Oslo reagiert. Mittelbar – eben durch die Blindgänger – verletzt Streumunition das Diskriminierungsgebot des Kriegsvölkerrechts. Die Bomblets verletzen und töten wahllos Menschen nach Kriegen, teils noch Jahre und Jahrzehnte später. Die Rechtsentwicklung hin zu einer Universalisierung der Verbotsnorm wird also zurückgeworfen. NATÜRLICH gilt der selbe Vorwurf x1000 gegenüber Russland. Aber das ist im Lichte zahlloser russischer Kriegsverbrechen keine gesonderte Erwähnung wert.
Fazit: Putins sinnloser Angriffskrieg beschwört erneut ein Dilemma herauf – und die Völkerrechtsordnung nimmt erneut Schaden. Ich würde mir innigst wünschen, die Ukraine bräuchte diese Waffen nicht. Am besten wäre, sie müsste sich gar nicht verteidigen. Aber die Ukraine braucht diese Waffen und bekommt sie jetzt. Und meine Empörung in diesem Zusammenhang richtet sich nicht gegen Kiew oder Washington – sondern gegen Moskau und Putin, der uns diesen Schlamassel – und alles dazugehörigen – einbrockt.

Nachtrag: Für die deutsche Debatte interessant eine Antwort der Bundesregierung auf eine Kleine Anfrage der FDP 2010

… und die gemeinsame Pressemitteilung von Auswärtigem Amt und Verteidigungsministerium 2015 zur Vernichtung der deutschen Arsenale an Streumunition:

(Unter diesem Beitrag bitte keine Kommentare, weil dann alles sehr ausfasert – Kommentare bitte hier.)

(Archivbild 2016: A Soldier carries a 155mm Base Burn Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition round, weighing more than 100 pounds, to a M992 Field Artillery Support Vehicle during the exercise – U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Gabriel Jenko)