Vladimir Putin’s pawns have again threatened to use cluster bombs in Ukraine in response to US supplies of the globally banned weapons.
The president has previously boasted of having a ‘sufficient stockpile’, stressing a readiness to deploy them.
His defence minister Sergei Shoigu said in a speech earlier today that the Kremlin has refrained from doing so out of ‘humanitarian’ concerns.
Both Ukraine and Russia have used the munitions during the war, but the Biden administration has been reluctant to send them over due to their controversial nature.
‘Another humanitarian problem is related to the US decision to supply Kyiv with cluster munitions,’ Shoigu said during the Moscow Conference on International Security after addressing the termination of the Black Sea grain deal.
‘The consequences of the use of such weapons for the civilian population are well known.
‘US officials have repeatedly stated in the past that the use of cluster munitions is a war crime.
‘Today, Washington and its accomplices are committing this crime in Ukraine. Condemnation from humanitarian organizations, as expected, no.
‘I would like to draw attention to the fact that we also have cluster munitions in service.
‘Until now, for humanitarian reasons, we have refrained from using them. But this decision may be reviewed.’
Russian forces have used cluster munitions in attacks that have caused hundreds of civilian deaths and incinerated houses, hospitals, and schools, Human Right Watch confirmed in a report from the end of May.
The Ukrainian military has also not denied evidence of its own use of cluster munitions.
After launch, they disperse large numbers of ‘bomblets’ from a rocket, missile or artillery shell.
Many submunitions fail to explode on initial impact, leaving duds that act like landmines, posing a threat to civilians for years and even decades.
Separately, Shoigu bragged about the advantages of Soviet-era made military equipment
He said: ‘I want to emphasise once again that there is nothing unique and invulnerable to Russian weapons on the battlefield today.
‘In many cases, even Soviet-made equipment surpasses Western models in its combat qualities.
‘We have objective control data on the destruction of German tanks, American armored vehicles, British missiles, and other weapons systems.
‘We are ready to share assessments of the weaknesses of Western technology with our partners.’
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