Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in an interview published on Sunday that Russia possesses a “sufficient stockpile” of cluster munitions. He issued a warning that Russia reserves the right to take reciprocal action if Ukraine employs these controversial weapons. This is the first time Putin has commented on the delivery of cluster munitions from the US to Ukraine.
While Putin acknowledged that Russia has not used cluster munitions in the war with Ukraine thus far. The use of such weapons by Russia and Ukraine has been widely documented by various sources. Cluster rounds have been found in the aftermath of Russian strikes.
The interview excerpts were published by Rossiya TV reporter Pavel Zarubin on his Telegram channel before the scheduled broadcast on Sunday night.
Last Thursday, the Pentagon announced that cluster munitions provided by the United States had arrived in Ukraine. The U.S. sees these munitions, which are bombs that open in the air and release multiple smaller bomblets. As a means to provide critical ammunition to Kyiv, bolster its offensive capabilities, and push through the Russian front lines. The decision to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine was a subject of debate among U.S. leaders for several months before President Joe Biden made the final decision last week.
Cluster bombs have long been criticized by humanitarian groups and some U.S. allies due to their high “dud rate,” meaning they often leave unexploded bomblets that pose risks to civilians long after a battle has ended. Supporters argue that the cluster munitions provided by the U.S. have been improved to reduce the number of unexploded rounds. Ukraine has pledged to use them only in areas away from densely populated regions.
In a regular update on Sunday morning, the Ukrainian military reported that over the previous 24 hours. Russia had launched two Iranian-made Shahed exploding drones, two cruise missiles, and two anti-aircraft guided missiles. In addition to conducting 40 airstrikes and 46 attacks from multiple rocket launchers.
The Ukrainian General Staff wrote that Russia continues to concentrate on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east. Donetsk regional Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said Sunday that two residents of the region were killed on Saturday, and one other person was wounded.