Ukraine denies using cluster bombs

Updated: 2014-10-21 21:25


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KIEV - The Ukrainian government on Tuesday strongly rejected allegations that its forces used cluster munitions during the fighting with independence-seeking insurgents in eastern regions.

"The Ukrainian military has never used such weaponry, which is banned by international law," Andrei Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, told reporters during a media briefing.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international nongovernmental organization, on Monday published a report saying that Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city earlier this month.

Citing physical evidence and interviews with witnesses, the New York-based human rights group said the cluster bombs came from the direction of government-controlled areas, southwest of Donetsk city.

At least 6 people were killed in the 12 documented incidents of using the deadly weapon, the report said.

While commenting on the HRW report, Lysenko said, "insurgents are spreading the false information, which possibly fell into the hands of the representatives of international organizations."

Lysenko asked the international observers monitoring the situation in the restive Ukrainian regions to provide more details in their reports, emphasizing that the government forces did not target civilian areas.

Cluster bombs are explosive weapons that disperse a mixture of smaller munitions over a wide area. Due to the danger it may pose to civilians, cluster munitions are banned in 114 countries in line with the Convention on Cluster Munitions. To date, Ukraine has not joined the treaty.

Donetsk city and its outskirts have for months been the epicenter of conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in mid-April and has killed more than 3,700 people.