Controversial US cluster munitions reach Ukrainian frontline

A cluster ammunition rocket lies in a sunflower field at sunset, in a recently retaken area of the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Cluster munitions offered to Ukraine by the United States have now reached the Ukrainian frontline, the Pentagon announced on Thursday. However, local military commanders insist the controversial ammunition will not be deployed in densely populated areas.

Valeriy Serseny, a spokesman for the Ukrainian armed forces fighting in the southeast of the country, also confirmed receipt of cluster munitions, which are banned in more than 100 countries across the world but not prohibited for use by the United States, Ukraine or Russia.

Speaking to Ukrainian state television, Serseny said that although the ammunition had not yet been deployed. Ukraine claims that it will use the ammunition only to “drive out the occupiers” on its territory and will not use it in populated areas.

Cluster bombs are controversial due to their unpredictability and increased risk to civilians. They spread mini bomblets over a large surface area which are often unreliable and do not explode upon impact. Critics compare them to land mines due to the number of unexploded devices which lie in wait for civilians many years after conflicts.

Also on Thursday, the Ukrainian military leadership announced partial successes in the counteroffensive against Russia.

Ukrainian General Staff spokesman Andriy Kovalyov said that Ukrainian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region had established a foothold in new positions. However, Russian forces continue to show “strong resistance” and mobilize reserves. As he said, some 25 people were wounded in Russian drone attacks on Kyiv and other major cities. Kovalyov added that Ukrainian troops had managed to advance south of the Russian-held Bakhmut.

He also reported that Russian attacks had been successfully repelled in the Donetsk settlements of Avdiivka, Liman and Maryinka, as well as the Kupiansk area of Kharkiv, adding that the Russian Air Force had launched dozens of air strikes.

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