Russia uses cluster bombs in Ukraine ‘extensively’: Report

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Russia uses cluster bombs in Ukraine  'extensively': Report

Russia has widely used cluster bombs in Ukraine, causing hundreds of civilian casualties and damaging homes, schools and hospitals, a monitoring body said in a report published Thursday.

A convention established in 2008 prohibits the use, transfer, production and stockpiling of cluster weapons. While the convention has 110 state parties and 13 other signatories, neither Russia nor Ukraine is a party to it.

The 100-page report comes as parties to the convention prepare for a 10th annual meeting from August 30 in Geneva.

What did the report say?

Hundreds of cluster munition attacks by Russian forces have been documented, reported or alleged since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) said.

The CMC's annual report on the use of such weapons around the world found that Ukrainian forces appear to have also used cluster munitions at least three times, adding that there was no evidence of Kyiv acquiring cluster munitions from other countries this year.

"Russia's extensive use of internationally banned cluster munitions in Ukraine demonstrates a blatant disregard for human life, humanitarian principles and legal norms," said Mary Wareham, one of the report's co-editors.

"The immediate and long-term suffering that cluster munitions cause civilians make their use today in Ukraine unconscionable, as well as invariably unlawful," Wareham said.

"All countries should condemn the use of these weapons under any circumstances," Wareham added.

For the first time in years, there were no reported deaths from cluster attacks in 2021 — although there were 147 casualties caused by munition remnants.

This has been overshadowed by the war in Ukraine this year. Preliminary data indicates at least 689 civilian casualties reported during cluster munition attacks for the period between February and July 2022.

Why are cluster bombs banned?

Cluster munitions can be launched from the ground or dropped from the air and consist of containers that open and disperse submunitions indiscriminately over a wide area.

Many submunitions fail to detonate and leave trails of explosive remnants and submunitions that threaten lives and deny access to arable land.

The report's co-editor, Marion Loddo, told DW that the weapons are so indiscriminate between civilians and the military that they had limited military use.

"There is clearly no military need, and that's why we have the convention banning those weapons," Loddo said.

Civilians made up 97% of the people who were killed or injured in 2021. Children made up two-thirds of the victims of munition remnants where the ages of victims were known — 90 out of 144.

In Laos and Lebanon, there were tragic incidents in which groups of children playing with submunitions were killed and injured. "Clearly, these weapons should never be used, anywhere, by anyone," said co-editor Loren Persi.

"It is a terrible reminder of the dire need for rapid clearance of contaminated areas, age-appropriate education on the risks of unexploded bomblets, and greater dedicated support to the victims and their families," Persi said.

Russia uses cluster bombs in Ukraine  'extensively': Report

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