Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.
The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.
“The Ukrainian military has not used internationally banned weapons, including cluster munition,” National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to him, ‘provocative information’ could have been provided to international observers by separatists. Therefore representatives of international organizations should provide more details in reports backed by evidence, he added.
“Concerning claims that residential areas were targeted in cluster bomb attacks, I am authorized to state that the Ukrainian military has not been using weapons against residential districts,” Interfax Ukraine quoted Lysenko as saying.
Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of smaller munitions, called submunitions, in a container such as a rocket or a bomb. After launch, the container opens up dispersing the submunitions which are designed to explode when they hit the ground. The submunitions are spread indiscriminately over a wide area, often the size of a football field, putting anyone in the area at the time of attack, whether combatants or civilians, at risk of death or injury.