President Vladimir Putin made a significant announcement regarding Russia’s stockpile of cluster munitions, saying that the country will consider using them against Ukraine “if they are used against us.”
The statement comes in the wake of Ukraine receiving a delivery of American-made cluster munitions, although Ukrainian military officials have confirmed that they have not yet utilized them.
In an interview with a pro-Kremlin journalist, President Putin asserted that Russia possesses an ample supply of various types of cluster munitions. Cluster munitions are bombs that disperse smaller bomblets in the air, and they have been a matter of concern for humanitarian groups and some U.S. allies due to their potential harm to civilians, especially with a high “dud rate” of unexploded bomblets that can pose dangers long after conflicts have ended.
The recent delivery of cluster munitions from the United States to Ukraine has been a topic of debate among U.S. leaders for months. The decision was made by President Joe Biden last week, aimed at providing Kyiv with critical ammunition to bolster its offensive capabilities and push back against Russian forces.
While proponents argue that the weapons provided by the U.S. have been improved to minimize the number of unexploded rounds, humanitarian concerns persist.
However, Ukraine has pledged to use these munitions only in areas away from densely populated regions.
The conflict in Ukraine’s industrial east remains intense, with the Ukrainian military reporting several attacks launched by Russia in the previous 24 hours.
Russia has allegedly deployed Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones, cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guided missiles, airstrikes, and attacks from multiple rocket launchers.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, Hanna Maliar, mentioned that the fighting in eastern Ukraine has somewhat intensified, with the country engaging in a slow counteroffensive that has resulted in small territorial gains. She noted that the situation in various areas remains highly dynamic, with both sides experiencing position changes frequently.
Despite President Putin’s claims that Ukraine’s counteroffensive has been unsuccessful, the situation on the ground remains tense, and the conflict continues to evolve with significant impacts on civilian populations.
A tragic incident involving two boys, aged 8 and 10, being wounded in an explosion caused by an explosive device left by Russian forces in the southern Kherson region, exemplifies the devastating consequences faced by civilians caught in the crossfire.
Furthermore, the Russia-occupied Crimea region reported a “massive and prolonged” drone attack targeting Sevastopol, the peninsula’s largest port, which houses Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
As the situation remains volatile and unpredictable, international concerns grow over the escalating conflict and its potential implications for regional stability and civilian safety.