Russia may reverse its previous stance of not using cluster munitions in Ukraine, because the US has started supplying them to Kyiv.
Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the US had previously called the use of cluster munitions a war crime. However, today it is “committing this crime in Ukraine.”
He added: “Russia, for humanitarian reasons, refrains from using such munitions. However, this decision can be reconsidered.”
However, the Pentagon had said in July that Russia has been using cluster munitions indiscriminately since the start of this war in order to attack Ukraine. It added that during the first year of the conflict alone, Russia fired cluster munitions deployed from a range of weapon systems have likely expended tens of millions of submunitions, or bomblets, across Ukraine.
The US announced a security assistance package to Ukraine in July which provided Kyiv with additional artillery systems and ammunition, including highly effective and reliable dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM) – also known as cluster bombs.
Cluster munitions, often referred to as cluster bombs, are a type of weapon that disperses or releases smaller submunitions, commonly known as “bomblets.” Designed to cover a large area, they can be delivered from the air through bombs, missiles, or rockets, or from the ground via artillery or rocket systems.
While these weapons can be effective against a range of targets, including vehicles, personnel, and aircraft, they have garnered significant criticism due to their humanitarian impact. Unexploded bomblets can remain long after a conflict has ended, posing a risk to civilians and often acting similarly to landmines. As a result, their use, production, and stockpiling have been prohibited by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty adopted in 2008, although not all nations are signatories.