Ukraine urged not to use US cluster bombs

Cambodia has urged Ukraine not to use cluster munitions.  - AFP/File
Cambodia has urged Ukraine not to use cluster munitions. – AFP/File

World leaders condemned Washington’s decision to supply cluster weapons to Ukraine, as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose country still grapples with deadly war relics, urged Ukraine on Sunday not to use cluster bombs. Did.

Previously, Canada and Britain – traditional US allies – have opposed the decision to provide cluster weapons to Ukraine. Germany, another US ally, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have also expressed their opposition to the US sending cluster weapons to Kiev.

Hun Sen tweeted, “If cluster bombs are used on the territory of Ukraine in the territories occupied by Russia, it will be the biggest threat to Ukrainians for many years or even a hundred years.”

He cited Cambodia’s “traumatic experience” of US cluster weapons dropped in the early 1970s, a foreign legacy that has crippled or killed thousands, AFP informed of.

Hun Sen said, “It has been more than half a century. There is as yet no means to destroy them all.”

He said, “As a mark of my mercy to the Ukrainian people, I appeal to the US President as the supplier and the Ukrainian President as the recipient not to use cluster bombs in war because the real victims will be the Ukrainians.”

Washington said it had received assurances from Kiev that it would try to minimize the risk to civilians, with US President Joe Biden acknowledging that supplying arms to Ukraine was a “difficult decision”.

Decades later, the cleanup continues

The US dropped millions of bombs on Cambodia and Laos in the 1960s and 1970s in an effort to strike communist targets during the Vietnam War.

And after 30 years of civil war that ended in 1998, Cambodia remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

The effects of the US bombing campaign and landmines left over from the conflict have long been felt, with nearly 20,000 Cambodians killed by stepping on landmines or unexploded ordnance over the past four decades.

The clean-up continues today, with the government pledging to clear all mines and unexploded ordnance by 2025.

In January, a group of Ukrainian miners visited Cambodian mine fields to learn from decades of bitter experience.

Humanitarian groups have strongly condemned the US decision to supply the cluster munitions, which could go unchecked for years to come and potentially endanger civilians.

– With additional input from Reuters,

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