As part of a new military aid package to support Kyiv’s war efforts against Russia, the United States decided to supply cluster bombs to Ukraine. This move has stirred great controversy.
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Weapons that disperse many explosive submunitions, also known as bomblets, into the air are called cluster munitions or cluster bombs. When these submunitions strike the ground, they immediately detonate, killing and injuring everyone nearby. Many bomblets do not promptly detonate and instead sit dormant for years (also known as the dud rate)
A civil society organisation called Human Rights Watch claims that since beginning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has deployed cluster bombs against Ukraine in places like Kharkiv, killing hundreds of civilians and destroying homes, hospitals, and schools.
In May 2008, the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) came into effect. The CCM’s implementation has been a significant step in the elimination of cluster bombs.
The CCM has been ratified by 112 nations, including several NATO members including Canada, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, so it is not a universal agreement. Yet, significant nations including the United States, Russia, China, Israel, and India have not ratified the CCM. Ukraine is not a participant.
Cluster bomb use, manufacture, stockpiling, and transfer are all prohibited by Article 1 of the CCM. The pact also requires nations to destroy any existing stockpiles of cluster munitions they may have. Additionally, nations are required by law to create a victim assistance programme to support and rehabilitate cluster bomb victims within their borders.
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