US sending cluster munitions to Ukraine in ‘transition period’ while producing new shells
By Matteo Cina
President Biden sat down for a recent interview in which he said the United States is low on 155 mm artillery ammunition rounds, sparking outrage and questions of competency from conservatives on social media.
During the interview, which aired Sunday morning, Biden defended his administration for sending cluster munitions to Ukraine as a “transition period” until more munitions are produced.
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,” Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “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.”
Reactions on social media ranged from confused to outrage as conservative pundits and experts alike wondered why Biden was announcing the U.S. shortage during a nationally televised interview that would be seen by adversaries.
“Love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo,” remarked political operative Logan Dobson.
“Joe Biden broadcasting to the world that the US is low on 155mm shells,” conservative communicator Steve Guest tweeted. “Moron. Does Biden not care that our adversaries in China are listening?”
“In CNN interview, President Biden is not particularly clear but seems to be saying US is sending cluster munitions to Ukraine because we are running out of 155mm artillery ammunition to send them,” wrote Byron York of the Washington Examiner. “Seems obvious this is affecting US readiness to defend itself.”
A White House official appeared to walk back Biden’s comment that the United States is running out of ammunition when asked to comment on criticism in response to Biden’s interview on CNN.
“The military has specific requirements for the numbers of weapons systems and ammunition we maintain in our reserves in case of contingencies or military conflict,” a White House official said in an email to Fox News Digital. “Everything we send to Ukraine is in excess of that. So, the U.S. is not running out of ammunition ourselves.”
“Joe Biden wasn’t supposed to say the quiet part out loud: ‘We’ve run out of ammunition.’ But now that the cat’s out of the bag, one must ask whether continued support of Ukraine’s military is even feasible as the conflict rages on,” political commentator Ian Miles Cheong remarked.
“The point of the proxy war was to weaken Russia,” tech entrepreneur David Sacks tweeted. “But the U.S. ran out of ammo first. So who’s weakening whom?”
Biden’s opponent in the Democrat presidential race, Robert Kennedy Jr., slammed Biden on Twitter on Saturday after he gave his administration the green light to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.
“Last year, WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the use of cluster bombs a ‘war crime.’ Now President Biden plans to send them to Ukraine. Stop the ceaseless escalation! It is time for peace,” Kennedy wrote in a tweet.
“Biden was opposed to cluster bombs in 1982 as well, when he opposed their sale to Israel,” Kennedy, who entered the White House race in April, added in a separate tweet. “What happened to his conscience?”
The White House official also defended the administration green-lighting cluster munitions for Ukraine, saying they wanted to make sure Ukraine is not “left defenseless.”
“We are authorizing cluster munitions to ensure that Ukraine is not left defenseless while we wait for our own domestic production of ammunition to ramp up substantially, which we are in the process of doing as are our allies and partners,” the official added. “These cluster munitions are a bridge as we significantly increase production of ammunition over the coming months – and will have much higher production levels soon.”
Fox News’ Kyle Morris contributed to this report.