A cluster bomb releases explosive devices in the air, killing people indiscriminately over a radius of hundreds of square meters. Their use is outlawed in most countries. According to Amnesty International, it can prove that the Kremlin used the weapons in the Ukraine war.
According to research by Amnesty International, Russian troops have killed numerous civilians in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv by using cluster munitions. "In Kharkiv, people were killed in their homes and on the streets while they were visiting playgrounds with their children, commemorating their loved ones in cemeteries, while queuing for aid deliveries or while shopping," reported Janine Uhlmannsiek from the German branch of Amnesty International, citing one new report entitled "Anyone can die at any time".
Amnesty investigated a total of 41 attacks that killed at least 62 people and injured at least 196. Organization members spoke to 160 people in Kharkiv in April and May, including survivors of attacks, victims' families and witnesses. Cluster munitions release dozens of smaller explosive devices into the air that spread over an area of hundreds of square meters, indiscriminately killing and injuring people.
The human rights organization accused Russia of repeatedly using cluster munitions and unguided missiles in residential areas and playgrounds since the start of the war of aggression in Ukraine. Uhlmannsiek demanded that those responsible for these attacks should be brought to justice and that the injured and the families of the victims should be compensated.
Conversely, according to Amnesty International, Ukrainian troops often launch attacks from residential areas, putting the lives of local civilians at risk. "This violates international humanitarian law, but in no way justifies the repeated indiscriminate attacks by Russian troops," the human rights organization said. The head of the medical department of the Kharkiv regional military administration told Amnesty International that 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the region since the war began. Most of the attacks investigated by Amnesty International resulted in numerous deaths in a large radius.
Russia has signed neither the treaty on cluster munitions nor the treaty on anti-personnel mines. However, Amnesty emphasized that international humanitarian law prohibits the use of weapons, which by their very nature kill people indiscriminately. Anyone who uses them anyway is committing war crimes. Ukraine has not signed the treaties either.