Ukraine has been accused of using cluster bombs, a type of weapon banned by more than 100 countries, against a Russian village near the border. The governor of Russia’s Bryansk region said that several houses in Klimovo were damaged by the Ukrainian shelling on Tuesday, but no casualties were reported. Ukraine has not commented on the allegation, which comes amid escalating tensions between the two countries over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Cluster bombs are explosive devices that scatter smaller submunitions over a wide area, which can hit multiple targets or cause indiscriminate harm to civilians. The submunitions can also fail to explode and pose a long-term threat to anyone who encounters them, similar to landmines. The use of cluster bombs in civilian areas violates the principles of international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime.
The US, which is not a signatory to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions that bans the use of such weapons, has provided Ukraine with cluster munitions as part of its military aid package. Ukraine has started using the munitions in its counteroffensive against Russia, claiming that they are effective and appropriate.
However, human rights groups have criticized the decision, citing the potential danger to civilians and the risk of escalating the conflict.