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Helsinki Commissioners Applaud Administration Decision on DPICMs for Ukraine

WASHINGTON— Today, Helsinki Commission Chairman Joe Wilson (SC-02), Ranking Member Steve Cohen (TN-09), and Commissioner Victoria Spartz (IN-05) made the following statement regarding the announcement by President Biden to send Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Cluster Munitions (DPICMs) to Ukraine:

“Our recent meetings with President Zelensky and officials in Kyiv showed the urgency of getting Ukraine the weapons it needs for victory. War requires hard choices and, after writing the President to urge this action, we commend President Biden’s decision to send DPICMs to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia, which has been constantly using cluster munitions in their continued aggression in Ukraine. The Russian Armed Forces and mercenaries violate every aspect of the Helsinki Accords of 1975, commit war crimes against women and children, and continue their genocidal war crimes against the people of Ukraine. The DPICMs will further enable the brave people of Ukraine to defend against Russia’s naked aggression and hasten Russia’s withdrawal from all of Ukraine. We urge President Biden to follow up on this important decision and urgently send Ukraine the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) to help end Russia’s war crimes and atrocities.”

On June 23, Chairman Wilson, Ranking Member Cohen, and Commissioner Spartz sent a letter to President Biden urging the provision of DPICMs to Ukraine. The full letter text is below:

Dear President Biden,

We urge you to authorize the transfer from the United States dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) stocks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to assist in Ukraine’s efforts to defeat and expel Russia’s invading forces. Transferring the DPICMs to Ukraine’s Armed Forces will provide them with an effective and necessary capability to engage area targets, including massed formations of enemy forces, individual targets dispersed over a defined area, targets whose precise location are not known, and time-sensitive or moving targets. Given Russia’s longstanding numerical and material superiority in theater, providing DPICMs to Ukraine will help to provide their Armed Forces with one way to even the battlefield odds broadly, and potentially to create operational breakthroughs that the Ukrainians can exploit to defend and retake their homeland. During the Cold War, DPICMs were developed and fielded specifically to counter Russia’s numerical and material superiority, and now they can be put to their intended use in Ukraine’s defense—and Ukraine’s defense of Europe, and ultimately, U.S. national security.

The tactical, military effectiveness of DPICMs is well-known. We understand the resistance to the use of DPICMs as expressed in the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions. While the goal of the Convention was to limit the proliferation of such arms out of concern over their indiscriminate use and the risks posed by unexploded ordinance, neither the United States nor Ukraine is a party to the Convention. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have proven to be a responsible steward of U.S. and Western munitions in its defense against the Russian invasion.

The United States currently possesses millions of DPICMs rounds in our military stockpiles, the transfer of which will not diminish the capabilities the Department of Defense. As we have with weapons systems such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) Missiles, 105mm and 155 mm Howitzers, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armor systems, Switchblade Tactical Unmanned aerial Systems, Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems, Abrams Tanks, and F-16 jests, transferring DPICMS to Ukraine presents an opportunity to provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with a powerful capability to use against the Russian army and mercenary forces. Let us use this untapped, vast arsenal in service of Ukrainian victory, and reclaiming Europe’s peace.

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