United Nations: About a third of Ukrainian territory is covered with unexploded ordnance
On Friday, the United Nations announced that about a third of Ukrainian territory has been covered with unexploded ordnance, including mines and cluster bombs.
The UN organization had previously announced that it had received “reports” of several cases in which Russian forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Ukraine, while Washington confirmed that Kiev is using American cluster bombs against Russian forces.
“Landmines will represent a danger to the civilian population within years, because, according to reports, about a third of the country’s territory is covered with unexploded ordnance, landmines and cluster bombs,” said the UN Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary Di Carlo, during a session of the UN Security Council today.
For his part, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Gustavo Manrique called on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine to refrain from using cluster munitions.
Earlier today, the White House confirmed that Ukraine is using US cluster bombs, which threaten civilians, against Russian forces in the country.
National security spokesman John Kirby said: “Initial feedback indicates that it has been used ‘effectively’ in Russian defensive sites and operations.”
Cluster bombs disperse many small bombs and are banned by more than 100 countries.
The United States agreed to supply them to Ukraine, while Kiev promised that the bombs would only be used to hit concentrations of Russian soldiers.
Last March, the United Nations Human Rights Office said it had received “credible reports” of several cases in which Russian forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Ukraine, adding that the indiscriminate use of these weapons may constitute war crimes.
Dozens of observers from the United Nations office are deployed throughout Ukraine, as part of a committee established by the Security Council with the aim of investigating possible war crimes.