The reception in Ukraine of cluster bombs, which the United States sent a few days ago, is branded as “criminal” by President Putin, who assured that he reserves the right to respond with cluster munitions if Kiev uses these weapons in the framework of war Human Rights Watch has explained the consequences of the use of these weapons and the importance for these countries of signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits this type of weapon.
President Putin’s threat regarding the use of cluster bombs is a response to what happened on Thursday, July 13, when Ukraine declared that it had received cluster bombs from its main military backer in the conflict, the United States. Joe Biden, a week earlier, had publicly confirmed that he would send them.
“Of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to reciprocate,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told Rossiya 1 television.
The US president, Joe Biden, defended the delivery of this weapon to kyiv, assuring that “this war is about ammunition and (Ukraine) is running out of that ammunition.”
On the Ukrainian side, the commander of the Tavria Joint Forces Operation, Oleksander Tarnavski, stated that cluster bombs could “radically change” the course of the war and assured that they have not been used. Furthermore, Ukraine has promised to use them only far from densely populated areas.
In any case, they represent a boost from the Western allies for the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
For his part, Putin spoke of the numbers around this ammunition delivery and explained that “the Ukrainian Army spends between 5,000 and 6,000 155-mm caliber shells every day of hostilities, while the United States produces 15,000 of these shells per month. They don’t have enough and Europe doesn’t have enough anymore, but they found nothing better to propose the use of cluster bombs.”
Cluster bombs, controversial
This type of ammunition is banned in more than 100 countries because they normally release large numbers of smaller bombs, which can kill indiscriminately over a wide area, impossible to calculate in advance.
Even some of these smaller bombs inevitably do not explode and can pose a hazard for decades, particularly to children.
For Human Rights Watch, both Russia and Ukraine have already used cluster munitions at this point in the war, demonstrating that neither the United States nor the two countries in the conflict have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of weapons of this type.
And meanwhile in the war
In a regular update this Sunday, July 16, the Ukrainian Army assured that in the last 24 hours Russian troops launched two Shahed drones, manufactured missiles, two cruise missiles and two anti-aircraft guided missiles, in addition to 40 air strikes and 46 multiple rocket launcher strikes.
The Ukrainian General Staff wrote in a statement that Russia continues to focus on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east and Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said fighting in eastern Ukraine had “intensified a bit.”
The world believes in Ukraine. The world is inspired by our courage, inspired by our heroes. And most importantly, Ukrainians believe in Ukraine, Ukrainians see what we are all capable of when we are together. We are the strongest when we are united. pic.twitter.com/YoisWrTbZ0
— Volodimir Zelensky (@ZelenskyyUa) July 16, 2023
Elsewhere in the country, two boys, ages eight and 10, were injured when an explosive device, left behind by Russian forces, detonated in the southern Kherson region, the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office reported.
Meanwhile, in another excerpt revealed in Putin’s interview, which was released this Sunday, the president assured that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had been “useless”: “all the enemy’s attempts to break through our defenses (…) were unsuccessful during the entire offensive. The enemy is not succeeding!”
With Reuters and local media