Russia has a stockpile of cluster bombs: Putin

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said that Russia has a “sufficient stockpile” of cluster bombs and will use them if such weapons were deployed by Ukraine against Russian forces.

“We have not used them yet”, he told state TV. “But of course if they are used against us, we reserve the right to take reciprocal action.”

Putin said he regarded the use of cluster bombs a crime, and that Russia has so far not needed to use them despite having faced ammunition issues in the past.

The Russian president’s remarks came after Ukraine said on Thursday that it had received cluster bombs from the United States, its biggest military backer.

According to reports, the munitions were given to compensate for Kyiv’s shell shortage at a time when they are mounting a counteroffensive.

Kyiv has said it will not use cluster bombs on Russian soil, but may deploy them to dislodge groups of Russian soldiers within its own territory.

Cluster munitions are banned in over 100 countries because they release large numbers of smaller bomblets, some of which fail to explode. Unexploded bomblets can be triggered decades later, and they pose a particular risk to children.

Russia, Ukraine and the US have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the 2008 international treaty which bans the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of such weapons.

According to Human Rights Watch, both Moscow and Kyiv have already been using cluster munitions.


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