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US to handover cluster munitions to Ukraine

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    14th Jul, 2023


The United States has agreed to hand over cluster munitions to Ukraine, said the White House, as human rights groups continued their calls for putting a stop to the use of the controversial weapons known to cause civilian casualties in large numbers.

What is a cluster munition? 

  • Cluster munitions, which are also known as cluster bombs, are canisters that contain tens to hundreds of smaller bomblets, also called 
  • Launching vehicle: The canisters can be launched using missiles, dropped from aircraft, or fired from naval guns, artillery, or rocket launchers.
  • At a prescribed height, the canisters break open depending upon the intended target, and the bomblets inside it spread out over that area.
  • The bomblets fuse with a timer and explode closer to or on the ground and spread shrapnel that is designed to take out armoured vehicles such as tanks and kill troops. 

Why cluster bombs are considered more controversial than other bombs? 

  • The impact of bomblets is on a wide area and can endanger non-combatants.
  • As per the International Committee of the Red Cross, around 10 per cent to 40 per cent of munitions fail.
  • The munitions, which fail to explode, have the probability of getting detonated by civilian activity years or even decades later.

Is using cluster bombs a war crime?

  • The use of cluster bombs cannot be considered as a violation of international law, however, using them against civilians can be seen as a grave violation.

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