Cluster munition casualties reached at least 1,172 last year, report says

A coalition of international NGOs says at least 1,172 people were wounded or killed by cluster munitions last year, with a significant number in Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the Cluster Munition Coalition released a report on casualties in 2022 resulting from cluster munition attacks or their remnants.

The coalition said the figure marks a seven-fold increase from the number in 2021 and is the highest since record-keeping began in 2010. It also said civilian casualties accounted for 95 percent of the total.

By country, Ukraine had the highest number of casualties, with at least 890.

The coalition pointed out that Russia has repeatedly used the weapon in Ukraine since its invasion of the country began in 2022. It says Ukraine has also used cluster munitions. Ukraine received the weapon from the United States in July.

The report added that casualties were also recorded in Syria and Myanmar, following the use of the weapon by the countries' militaries.

Cluster munitions are highly lethal as they open in the air to disperse multiple bomblets over a wide area. Many bomblets fail to explode on initial impact, leaving remnants that can indiscriminately kill or injure civilians for years, similar to landmines, until they are cleared.

There is an international treaty to ban the manufacture and use of cluster munitions. More than 110 countries, including Japan, have ratified or acceded to the pact.
But the United States and Russia have not.

The NGO that complied the report referred to the provision of cluster munitions by the US to Ukraine.

Noting that the use of cluster munitions victimizes civilians, it said, "governments must unite to firmly condemn any use of cluster munitions by any actor in any circumstance."