Russia will use cluster bombs in Ukraine if necessary, Putin says


President Vladimir Putin said Russia had a «sufficient stock» of cluster bombs and reserved the right to use them if such munitions, the use of which he said he considered a crime, were deployed against Russian forces in Ukraine.

Ukraine said on Thursday it had received cluster bombs from the United States, its biggest military backer, which says the munitions are needed to make up for a shortage of shells facing Kiev forces as they mount a counteroffensive.

Cluster munitions are banned in more than 100 countries because they typically release large numbers of smaller bomblets that can kill indiscriminately over a wide area. Some of them inevitably do not explode and can pose a danger for decades, especially for children.

kyiv has said it will use cluster bombs to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers when it tries to retake its own territory, but will not use them on Russian soil.

Putin told state television that Moscow would respond in kind if necessary.

“I want to note that in the Russian Federation there are enough stocks of different types of cluster bombs. We haven’t used them yet. But of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to reciprocate.»

Putin said he considered the use of cluster bombs a crime and that until now Russia had not needed to use them despite having suffered from its own munitions problems in the past.

Human Rights Watch says that both Moscow and kyiv have used cluster munitions. Russia, Ukraine and the US have not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of weapons.

Putin also told state television that he saw nothing wrong with Russian specialists examining captured Western military equipment and missiles, such as the Storm Shadow missiles Britain supplied to Ukraine, to see if there was anything useful that could be used on his own. Russian military equipment.

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