Retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman said on Saturday that President Biden “did the right thing” in agreeing to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.
“From a practical perspective, the president did the right thing,” Vindman told CNN, adding, “Ukraine will be very thoughtful.”
“They are responsible for their territory,” he continued. “It was spread over their territory. They will be careful with them.”
The Biden administration announced the decision to provide Kyiv with cluster munitions as part of an $800 million military aid package on Friday.
Cluster munitions, designed to deploy several dozen to hundreds of submunitions over a wide area, are banned in more than 100 countries because of the risk that the bombs could fail to explode and remain a explosive hazard for civilians.
Vindman acknowledged that Biden faced pushback on the decision and noted that the president is likely to “take a little heat” from some NATO members who “have fun doing this kind of principled approach, ” as he heads to the NATO summit next week.
However, the retired Army lieutenant colonel said Ukrainian officials see cluster munitions as “essential to liberate the territory and destroy the Russian army.”
“This is all about attacking the Russian army at its heart, breaking its ability to continue the war in Ukraine, and with that, helping to start the end of the war,” Vindman said.
“In many ways, it seems counter-intuitive, but it’s frankly one of the most humane things they can do,” he continued. “Instead of this war going on forever, having a sharp punctuated conclusion to this war is a relatively humane approach.”
Vindman, who pushed for Ukraine’s entry into NATO, also suggested that Russia believed it could hinder efforts to bring Kyiv into the alliance by dragging out the war, which hit its 500th day on Saturday.
“Russia believes that, while this war continues, it maintains a veto on Ukraine’s NATO membership,” he told CNN. “So that means we’re setting up a recipe for Russia to continue to interfere, to continue to wage war in Ukraine, in an effort to block entry.”
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