Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that Russia had a « sufficient stockpile » of cluster bombs and threatened to take « reciprocal action » if Ukraine used the weapons against Russian troops.
The Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that Washington had delivered cluster munitions to Ukraine, which more than 110 countries around the world have banned.
Kiev says it needs the explosive shells to make up for ammunition shortages as it is currently staging a counter-offensive against invading Russia. Ukraine said cluster bombs would only be used on its territory to displace Russian soldiers from occupied areas. Cluster bombs are filled with submunitions that are released into the air and make the weapons more effective against enemy troops, but can also pose a risk to civilians.
“I want to note that there is a sufficient stockpile of different types of cluster bombs in the Russian Federation. We haven’t used them yet. But of course if they are used against us, we reserve the right to act on each other,” Putin said in an interview on Sunday with Russian state TV, Putin reported. Reuters.
« Until now we haven’t done it, we haven’t used it and we haven’t had such a need for it, » the president said. He said he considered the use of cluster bombs a crime.
There is strong evidence, however, to suggest that Moscow has used cluster bombs in its war against Ukraine. In a May report, Human Rights Watch She said that « since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Russian military has used cluster munitions in attacks that have claimed hundreds of civilian lives and damaged civilian property, including homes, hospitals and schools » .
Neither Russia, nor Ukraine, nor the United States have ratified the international convention on the prohibition of cluster bombs.