Russia denies use of cluster bombs in Ukraine

The Russian Embassy in US's most recent statement rejects any implications that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine.

 A road sign damaged by cluster munition is seen following a military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine June 10, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO)
A road sign damaged by cluster munition is seen following a military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine June 10, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO)

The Russian Embassy in the US maintained that Russia has not committed any war crimes in Ukraine, per a statement released by the Embassy on social media.

In particular, the statement took care to deny Russia's use of cluster munitions against civilians in Kharkiv. Cluster munitions have been widely prohibited since the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which today has over 100 signatories. 

Cluster munitions are explosives that release or eject smaller submunitions, or 'bomblets.' According to the UN Human Rights Watch website, "Cluster munitions pose an immediate threat to civilians during conflict by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. They continue to pose a threat post-conflict by leaving remnants, including submunitions that fail to explode upon impact becoming de facto landmines." 

Russia's use of cluster munitions

The 2021 Cluster Munition Monitor report confirmed that, while Russia was not a signatory to the original 2008 treaty, it has since ratified it and therefore consented to be bound to its terms. The same is true of Ukraine.

 An emptied cluster munition container is seen stuck in the ground following a military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine June 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO) An emptied cluster munition container is seen stuck in the ground following a military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine June 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/IVAN ALVARADO)

Yet, in March, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reported that, in Russia, "we have seen the use of cluster bombs...in violation of international law."

The statement from the Russian Embassy maintains that "the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation protect the civilian population in Donbas from the Nazis. But the latter are just supported by the United States and a number of European states." This is in line with previous Russian publications and statements, championing the current military action as the "denazification" of Ukraine. 

The Russian Embassy in the US also censured "so-called human rights activists" for focusing on "fake" information while turning "a blind eye to the shelling of Donetsk...by Ukrainian nationalists with the help of Western weapons."

Many such statements that take this tone have been released by the Embassy in the 113 days since Russia began military action in Ukraine.