Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia "reserves the right" to use cluster munitions in Ukraine, while mentioning that the Russian armed forces allegedly did not do this before.
In the program "Moscow. Kremlin. Putin" on "Russia-1" he said:
“I want to say that Russia has a sufficient stock of various kinds of cluster munitions, of various kinds. Until now, we have not done this, we have not used it, and we have not had such a need, despite the well-known shortage in a certain period of time, and we also have ammunition, but we have not done this. But, of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions.”
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to the President of the United States, announced on July 7 that the United States would transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine. At the same time, he stressed that the Ukrainian authorities will give written guarantees that this type of weapon will be used with caution, "minimizing the risks for its own population." It was about artillery shells.
Putin's words that Russia did not use cluster munitions are an obvious lie.
As early as February 25, 2022, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch, which monitors, investigates and documents human rights violations, wrote about an attack by a Russian ballistic missile 9M79 fired by the Tochka-U complex on a hospital in Vugledar. It was equipped with a 9N123K cluster munition warhead. As a result of the strike, four civilians were killed and six people were injured.
Already on February 28, Bellingcat counted several cases of the use of this type of weapon by Russia. The head of the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachalet, stated at the end of March 2022 that, according to confirmed reports, Russia had used cluster munitions at least 24 times by that time.
Perhaps the most egregious case of the use of cluster munitions is the shelling of a railway station in Kramatorsk on April 8, 2022 using a missile fired from the Tochka-U complex. Then at least 58 civilians were killed and about 100 civilians were injured.
One can also doubt Putin's statement that Russia now has "a sufficient stock of various kinds of cluster munitions." The last known case of their use was documented in January 2023, when the position of the Ukrainian S-300 air defense system was hit by an Iskander missile with a cluster warhead. It is likely, as The Insider wrote , that Russia may have a significant stock of free-falling cluster munition bombs, but they are used very rarely due to the opposition of Ukrainian air defense systems.