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Putin warns Ukraine not to use new US delivered cluster bombs against Russian forces

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has cautioned Ukraine against deploying cluster munitions against Russian soldiers, stating that his nation has a stockpile of them and may use them against Ukraine “if they are used against us.”

Human rights organisations criticised the US’s questionable choice to supply cluster bombs to Kyiv.

The weapons are dangerous to civilians and non-combatants when fired near populated areas because they scatter explosive material, so-called “bomblets,” across large areas. Those that fail to explode on impact can detonate years later, posing a long-term risk to anyone who encounters them, similar to landmines.

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Cluster munitions contain multiple explosives that are released over an area up to the size of several football fields. They can be dropped from a plane or launched from the ground or sea.

They are designed to explode on impact but as many as a third don’t, and remain a deadly risk to civilians for years to come

Putin’s comments come just days after Ukraine received a delivery of American-made cluster munitions.

“Russia has a sufficient supply of various types of cluster munitions,” the Russian leader said during an interview with a pro-Kremlin journalist on Sunday, July 16.

“If they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions.”

The danger posed by cluster weapons has prompted more than 100 countries including the United Kingdom, France and Germany to sign a treaty prohibiting their use.

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US President Joe Biden, said last week that the decision whether to send cluster munitions to Ukraine was “very difficult,” but he opted to do so because Kyiv needs more ammunition to continue its fight to push Russian troops out of Ukrainian territory.

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In his interview, Putin said that the Biden administration had called the use of cluster munitions a war crime and that he agreed with that assessment.

Putin also claimed that Russia has not yet used cluster munitions, despite evidence by the United Nations showing that Russian forces had used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.

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