Putin warns of possible cluster bomb retaliation should any used against Russian forces

17 July, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava

Putin World

Earlier, Kiev had provided "assurances in writing" that it wouldn't employ cluster bombs near cities, according to a senior source at the US Defence Department.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow too has a stockpile of cluster bombs and will “consider using them” against Ukraine “if they are used against us,” CNN reported, days after Ukraine received delivery of American-made cluster munitions.

“Russia has a sufficient supply of various types of cluster munitions,” Putin said during an interview. “If they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions,” Putin said as per CNN. Notably, human rights organisations opposed and criticised Washington’s choice to supply cluster bombs to Kiev.

When fired close to inhabited areas, the weapons pose a particular threat to civilians and non-combatants since they disperse explosive material, or so-called “bomblets,” across a considerable region. Similar to landmines, those that don’t detonate immediately upon impact might still pose a long-term risk to anybody who comes into contact with them, according to CNN.

Multiple explosives are included in cluster bombs, which are dispersed across an area as large as several football fields. They can be launched from the air, the ground, or the water. Sub-munitions are discharged into the air and fall to the ground. They may number in the tens or hundreds.

They are intended to detonate upon contact, but up to a third fail to do so, posing a lethal risk to bystanders for years to come. According to CNN, 94% of cluster bomb victims are civilians, including over 40% of children.

Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits use, transfer, production, and stockpiling of cluster munitions

More than 100 nations, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have signed a convention outlawing the use of cluster munitions due to the threat they represent.

According to CNN, US President Joe Biden admitted that it was “very difficult” to decide to deliver cluster bombs to Ukraine, but he did so because Kyiv requires more arms to continue its campaign to drive Russian soldiers from Ukrainian territory.

Apparently, Kiev provided “assurances in writing” that it wouldn’t employ cluster bombs near cities, according to a senior source at the US Defence Department. Putin said that he agreed with the Biden administration’s classification of the use of cluster weapons as a war crime.

Putin didn’t elaborate on his remarks, but according to CNN, former White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated at the commencement of the conflict last year that the deployment of cluster bombs by Russia would be considered a “war crime” if proved.

Russia didn’t use cluster ammunition, refutes President Putin

Despite evidence to the contrary, Putin also asserted that Russia had not yet employed cluster bombs. The United Nations said earlier in March that it had gathered reliable information indicating that Russian forces had employed cluster bombs in civilian areas at least 24 times.

Additionally, it was discovered last year that the Kremlin launched 11 cluster rockets into Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, in the early stages of the conflict, according to CNN.