Russia has a stockpile of cluster munitions and will consider using them against Ukraine “if they are used against us,” President Vladimir Putin said.
Putin’s comments come just days after Ukraine received a delivery of American-made cluster munitions, though a top Ukrainian military official told CNN they had not yet been used.
“Russia has a sufficient supply of various types of cluster munitions,” the Russian leader said during an interview with a pro-Kremlin journalist.
“If they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions.”
Washington’s decision to send cluster bombs to Kyiv was controversial and criticized by human rights groups.
The weapons are particularly dangerous to civilians and noncombattants when fired near populated areas because they scatter explosive material, so-called “bomblets,” across large areas. Those that fail to explode on impact can detonate years later, posing a long-term risk to anyone who encounters them, similar to landmines.