Ukraine attacks Russia's Belgorod region with cluster munitions – governor
Ukraine has targeted a village in Russia’s Belgorod Region with cluster munitions, local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov has said.
At least three cluster munitions were employed by Kiev's forces during a large-scale attack on the settlement of Zhuravlevka, Gladkov wrote on Telegram on Saturday.
According to the governor, 21 artillery shells and ten mortar rounds were also fired at the village. It was also targeted by a kamikaze drone.
No casualties or damage were repoted in Zhuravlevka as a result of the shelling, Gladkov said.
He added that smaller artillery, mortar and drone attacks targeted at least a dozen other settlements in Belgorod Region on the same day.
In the village of Ilek-Penkovka, 12 households were affected by an explosion, with the facades of buildings being damaged and windows shattered, he said, but that injuries had been avoided.
The US announced the delivery of cluster munitions to Ukraine earlier this month, with President Joe Biden describing it as a stopgap measure that was necessary due to a shortage of regular artillery rounds among Kiev’s Western backers.
The controversial shells, which contain multiple bomblets that are dispersed over a large area, have been banned in more than 100 countries. However, neither Ukraine, the US, nor Russia are signatories of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Washington admitted that it was aware of the increased risk posed by cluster munitions for the civilian population, but claimed that Kiev had pledged to deploy them responsibly and steer clear of densely populated areas.
On Thursday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed that the Ukrainian forces had begun using US-supplied cluster munitions on the battlefield. They were doing so “quite effectively,” he claimed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin noted last week that the US itself had earlier branded the use of cluster munitions “a crime,” saying this was exactly how he regarded the delivery of such weapons to Kiev by Washington.
The Russian military has a “sufficient” stock of cluster munitions, which it can also put to use in a tit-for-tat response to such weapons being deployed by Ukraine, the president warned.