Lithuania considering withdrawal from convention banning cluster bombs

Lithuania is deliberating whether to withdraw from an international convention that bans cluster bombs.

The Lithuanian defense ministry revealed to NHK that the government is examining the issue.

The discussion comes amid the ongoing use of cluster munitions in the battle between Russia and Ukraine.

Cluster munitions disperse small bomblets and are highly lethal. They pose a prolonged risk to civilians as many bomblets fail to detonate.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the production, stockpiling, use and transfer of the weapons, has been joined by more than 110 states, including Japan.

Russia, which has not signed the convention, has been using cluster munitions in its invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are also using cluster bombs provided by the United States.

An international non-governmental organization and others have reported that more than 900 people were killed or wounded by cluster munitions last year in Ukraine alone.

In Lithuania, vigilance is growing against its neighbor Russia. A Russian enclave borders Lithuania.

Local media say Lithuania's Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anusauskas has argued that the country should withdraw from the convention to bolster its defense capabilities.

But they report that other government officials have expressed caution, fearing that such a move could invite international criticism.

A meeting of states parties to the convention is scheduled to start in Geneva on Monday.