About 80 civilians have been killed and around 450 wounded in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv since Russia invaded Ukraine, the local mayor said on Wednesday.
Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych also said on national television that Russia had used cluster munitions in Mikolayiv. He provided no evidence but said there was a “huge number of cluster bombs scattered around the city.”
Reuters could not independently verify his assertion. Russia has previously denied using cluster munitions or targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on February 24.
Cluster bombs are made up of a hollow shell that explodes in mid-air, dispersing dozens or even hundreds of smaller “bomblets” over a wide area.
Russia is not party to a 2008 convention banning cluster munitions although it is bound by international humanitarian law, particularly the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks.
The top United Nations human rights official said on Wednesday her office had received “credible allegations” that Russian forces had used cluster munitions in populated areas of Ukraine at least 24 times and that her office was investigating alleged use of cluster munitions by Ukraine.