Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has stated that his country possesses a significant supply of cluster bombs and is prepared to employ them if Russian forces in Ukraine face an attack using these munitions.
While Putin acknowledges that the use of cluster bombs is considered a crime, he insists on maintaining the right to respond in kind if they are deployed against Russian troops.
Recently, Ukraine announced that it received cluster bombs from its main military supporter, the United States. The U.S. argues that these munitions are necessary to compensate for the shortage of shells experienced by Kyiv’s forces during their counteroffensive operations.
However, cluster munitions are banned in over 100 countries due to their tendency to cause indiscriminate casualties over a wide area.
These munitions release numerous small bomblets, some of which remain unexploded for extended periods, posing a particular danger to children.
Kyiv has stated its intention to use cluster bombs to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers within its territory, but it pledges not to use them on Russian soil.
During a state television appearance, Putin confirmed that Russia possesses various types of cluster bombs in its arsenal, although they have not been utilized thus far.
Nevertheless, he emphasized that if cluster bombs were used against Russian forces, Moscow would respond proportionately.
“We have an ample supply of diverse cluster bombs in the Russian Federation. Up until now, we have refrained from using them. However, if they are employed against us, we reserve the right to take appropriate action.”
Despite facing ammunition shortages in the past, Putin maintained that Russia has not deemed it necessary to resort to using cluster bombs, which he considers criminal.
Both Moscow and Kyiv have been reported by Human Rights Watch to have used cluster munitions. It is worth noting that Russia, Ukraine, and the United States have not ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use, and transfer of such weapons.
Furthermore, Putin expressed his belief that there is no problem with Russian specialists examining captured Western military equipment and missiles, including Britain’s Storm Shadow missiles supplied to Ukraine. The purpose of these examinations is to identify any useful elements that could enhance Russia’s own military capabilities.