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UN Warns of Russian Army’s Use of Cluster Bombs Against Ukraine

ONU alerta sobre el uso de bombas de racimo por parte del Ejército ruso contra Ucrania

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The UN Human Rights Office has received “credible information” that Russia has used cluster munitions, a type of weaponry banned because of their indiscriminate impact on civilians, several times in the two weeks since it invaded Ukraine.

The use of these bombs would have occurred “even in populated areas”, said today the spokeswoman of the agency, Liz Throssell, who detailed that on February 24 a cluster bomb exploded in the main hospital of Vuhledar, located in the part of Donetsk under government control and where four civilians were killed and a dozen were wounded.

“There were other cluster bomb attacks in several districts of Kharkiv, where nine civilians were killed and 37 were wounded,” the spokeswoman continued.

“Due to their wide-area effects, the use of cluster bombs in populated areas is incompatible with international humanitarian law,” she added.

An international treaty banning the use, development, manufacture, acquisition, and stockpiling of cluster bombs has been in force since 2010. Currently, 110 states have fully acceded to this legal instrument, and thirteen others have signed but not yet ratified it.

Russia, as well as the United States and China, are not among the adherents to this treaty, to which Ukraine is also not a party.

The international community deemed it necessary to negotiate a specific treaty to totally ban this type of weaponry because of the terrible impact it has on the civilian population in conflict situations.

Whether dropped from the ground or from the air, cluster bombs consist of containers that open and disperse hundreds and sometimes thousands of submunitions over a wide area. Many remain unexploded and become remnant explosives that can injure or kill someone even decades later, as well as impede the use of arable land.

According to the Observatory on the Use of Cluster Bombs and Landmines, the former was used from July 2014 to February 2015, during the previous conflict in Ukraine, when separatist groups took up arms against the central government and took control of parts of two regions in the east of the country, bordering Russia.

Separately, the UN Human Rights Office reported today that it has verified the deaths of 549 civilians in the ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as the cases of 957 injured people.

“Schools, hospitals, and kindergartens have been hit, with devastating consequences,” Throssell lamented.

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