In what seems to be the Ukrainians giving the Russians a taste of their own medicine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces reportedly fired cluster munition rockets at Russian troops to force them out of a village in Husarivka, Ukraine, according to The New York Times.

Journalists from The New York Times uncovered what remained of a cluster munition rocket near Yurii Doroshenko’s home in Husarivka, some 60 miles south of Kharkiv. Nobody had died from the particular cluster munition they discovered. However, the publication later determined that two people were killed from the usage of the munition in other portions of the village as Ukrainian forces shelled the village to target Russian troops.

The cluster munition was banned from use in wars during the 2007-2008 Oslo Process that created the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munitions. The convention stipulated that all cluster munitions must be destroyed within ten years and that assistance be provided to the victims of these weapons. One hundred ten state parties and 13 countries have signed the agreement, including 24 NATO members and allies. Note that the US, Russia, and Ukraine did not sign the agreement.

The US has also used cluster munitions in the past, specifically during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and an attack on Yemen in December of 2009. Other instances include operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Laos, and Lebanon. Generally, these weapons are not supposed to be used as anti-personnel weapons.  They were developed originally to attack material and equipment like aircraft, trucks, depots and ammunition dumps.

The wreckage of BM-27 Uragan MLRS 9M27K-series rocket booster and cargo sections in Mykolaiv for cluster munitions (Rob Lee). Source:
The wreckage of BM-27 Uragan MLRS 9M27K-series rocket booster and cargo sections in Mykolaiv for cluster munitions (Rob Lee/Twitter)

While the US has been diligent in using these weapons as intended and within the confines of international rules governing their use, Russia has repeatedly used cluster munitions in Ukraine in civilian areas. A UN report states that they have utilized cluster munitions at least 24 times in populated areas of Ukraine. Reports that the Russians shelled the densely populated city of Mykolaiv early in March for three separate days sparked the outrage of the international populace, stating that the munition could kill innocent civilians. An attack on March 13 killed nine civilians who were reportedly in line at an ATM. The munitions used in these attacks were reportedly 9M27K-series Uragan cluster munition rockets.