US President Joe Biden has sought to justify his controversial decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine by revealing a potentially sensitive fact about America’s military: It’s running low on artillery shells.
Biden made the admission in a CNN interview that aired on Sunday, saying it was necessary to give cluster munitions to Kiev because 155mm artillery rounds are in short supply. “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. The host had pointed out a previous White House claim that the use of cluster bombs by Russian forces could be a “war crime.”
Conservative critics, such as US podcast host Steve Guest, argued that Biden blurted out what should have been a state secret. “Joe Biden broadcasts to the world that the US is low on 155mm shells. Does President Biden not care that our adversaries in communist China are listening?”
Former US Senate staffer Logan Dobson agreed, saying, “Love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo.”
Biden made his comments as the US and its European allies prepared to gather for this week’s NATO summit in Vilnius, where members of the Western military alliance plan to discuss the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Republican lawmakers argued that his statement to CNN proved that the US-led campaign to provide billions of dollars’ worth of weaponry to Kiev has weakened America’s defenses.
Senator J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) called the remark a “stunning admission from Biden, something I’ve been warning about for over a year. He says the Ukrainians are running low on 155mm artillery shells, and so are we. The Ukraine war is a massive drain on our national security.”
Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) said that in light of Biden’s admission about dwindling artillery stockpiles, “we cannot be sending any more to Ukraine. America comes first.”
An unidentified White House official contradicted Biden’s claim, telling Fox News that military aid to Ukraine had not strained US ammunition supplies. “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. Everything we send to Ukraine is in excess of that, so the US is not running out of ammunition ourselves.”
Some US lawmakers have called the Ukraine conflict a “proxy war” against Russia. Podcast host David Sacks, a US technology entrepreneur, said Biden’s strategy appears to be backfiring, even as Washington vastly outspends Russia on defense. “The point of the proxy war was to weaken Russia, but the US ran out of ammo first,” he said. “So who’s weakening whom?”
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