Summary: Non-signatory Ukraine has acknowledged the humanitarian impact of cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Ukraine last participated in a meeting of the convention in 2014. Ukraine abstained from voting on a key United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Ukraine possesses a stockpile of cluster munitions that it inherited from the former Soviet Union and it may have acquired cluster munitions from elsewhere. Russia has used cluster munitions extensively since its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Ukrainian forces have used cluster munitions on several occasions during the conflict, causing civilian harm.


Ukraine has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Ukraine has acknowledged the deadly long-term consequences of cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede to the convention.[1] Ukraine told the Monitor in 2010 and 2012 that it considered cluster munitions to be “legal weapons” and “an important component of Ukraine’s defense capabilities.”[2]

Ukraine has also expressed concern at its capacity to comply with the convention’s obligations, particularly the eight-year deadline to destroy stockpiled cluster munitions.[3]

Ukraine attended several meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and participated as an observer at the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008.[4]

Ukraine last participated as an observer at a meeting of the convention in 2014.[5] Ukraine was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022.

In December 2022, Ukraine abstained from voting on a key UNGA resolution that urged states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[6] Ukraine has never explained why it has abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.

Ukraine has voted in favor of UNGA and Human Rights Council resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[7]

Ukraine is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production and Transfer

In 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that Ukraine has not produced cluster munitions and has not imported them.[8]

Ukraine has publicly asked to be supplied with cluster munitions for use in its war against Russia, since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of the country.[9]

On 7 July 2023, the administration of President Joe Biden announced that an unspecified quantity of United States (US) stocks of cluster munitions, with a failure rate higher than 1%, would be transferred to Ukraine.[10] According to the US Department of Defense, “155mm artillery rounds” will be transferred, including ones that deliver what it called “highly effective and reliable” dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM).[11] US Department of Defense officials have claimed that the DPICM submunitions “have a dud rate less than 2.35 percent” but said the testing data behind this number is “classified.”[12]

It appears that the US will transfer 155mm M864 cluster munition artillery projectiles that each contain 72 DPICM submunitions, as well as 155mm M483A1 artillery projectiles that each contain 88 DPICM submunitions. The projectiles deliver M42 and M46 DPICM submunitions and historic data for these submunitions shows that they have a failure rate of 6–14%. The failure rate is often higher in operations due to wind, soft soil, dense vegetation, and other delivery factors.[13]

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, Oleksii Reznikov, welcomed the US decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions in July 2023, which he said “will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.”[14] Reznikov further outlined five “key principles which we [Ukraine] will abide by and which we have clearly communicated to all our partners, including the US.” These principles are summarized by the Monitor as: Ukraine will use cluster munitions on its own territory and not in Russia; Ukraine will not use cluster munitions “in urban areas (cities)” and will use them “only in the fields where there is a concentration of Russian military;” Ukraine will keep a strict record of its use of cluster munitions and “the local zones where they will be used;” areas where cluster munitions are used will be prioritized for demining; and Ukraine “will report to our partners about the use of…[cluster] munitions, and about their efficiency to ensure the appropriate standard of transparent reporting and control.

As of 17 July 2023, world leaders and officials from 19 countries had expressed concern over cluster munitions after the US decision to transfer its stocks to Ukraine. These states included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Lao PDR, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (UK). The US decision has received worldwide media coverage and has been criticized by US congressional representatives, United Nations (UN) spokespersons, and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

Cluster munitions may have been included in artillery and rocket systems, or among other weapons, that Ukraine has received from other states in 2022 and 2023. US officials have alleged that unnamed countries have supplied cluster munitions to Ukraine.[15]

Türkiye and Ukraine have both denied a January 2023 report which claimed Türkiye transferred cluster munitions to Ukraine in November 2022.[16] Also in January 2023, Estonian state media reported that Estonia was considering providing Ukraine with German-made 155mm DM632 cluster munition projectiles.[17] Such a transfer would require approval from the German government. In February 2023, Germany’s defense minister Boris Pistorius said that “Germany won’t authorize the transfer of cluster bombs to Ukraine.”[18]

Israeli-made or copied M971 120mm cluster munition mortar projectiles were photographed in the possession of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in December 2022.[19] Each M971 120mm mortar projectile delivers 24 M87 DPICM submunitions. Israel originally produced this type of cluster munition, but it is not known how or from whom Ukraine acquired it.

Stockpiling and Destruction

Ukraine inherited a large stockpile of cluster munitions after the break-up of the Soviet Union and shared information on the types stockpiled in 2011, as detailed in the following table.

Cluster munitions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine[20]

Weapon type

Cluster munition

Surface-to-surface rocket

220mm Uragan9M27K

300mm Smerch 9M55K

Tochka-U (SS-21)

Aircraft dispenser

KMGU containing BFK-AO2.5, BFK-ODC, BFK-PTAB, and BFK-AP cartridges of submunitions

Air-dropped bomb








At that time, Ukraine reported that cluster munitions constituted 35% of its stocks of conventional weapons, which totaled two million tons of ammunition. Of the cluster munition stocks possessed by Ukraine, 34% were produced before 1980, while 36% were produced in 1981–1992 and were “planned to be stockpiled and might be used.” The remaining 30% of the reported stocks comprised of antivehicle landmines.[21]

Ukraine reported in 2011 that it destroyed approximately 10,000–20,000 tons of cluster munitions annually, and stated that it could take up to 60 years for it to destroy all stocks that were slated for destruction.[22]


The Russian Armed Forces have used cluster munitions extensively in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country in February 2022, causing hundreds of civilian casualties, hitting civilian infrastructure, and contaminating agricultural land.[23]

Ukrainian forces also used cluster munitions on several occasions during 2022.

The New York Times first reported that Ukrainian forces used Uragan cluster munition rockets in an attack on Husarivka, in Kharkiv region, on either 6 or 7 March 2022, when the village was under Russian control.[24] Ukraine did not deny this use of cluster munitions, but said that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine strictly adhere to the norms of international humanitarian law.”

The Armed Forces of Ukraine reportedly used cluster munitions in attacks on Izium city, in Kharkiv region, between March and September 2022, when it was controlled by Russian forces, according to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.[25] The commission provided three examples illustrating this use of cluster munitions in Izium city: an attack on 9 May on a residential area that killed three and injured six people; an attack on 14 July on the central market that injured two people; and an attack on 16 July on a residential area that killed two people.

In July 2023, Human Rights Watch (HRW) also reported on Ukraine’s cluster munition rocket attacks on Izium city and surrounding areas between April and September 2022, when Russian forces had controlled the areas.[26] HRW recorded at least eight civilians killed and 11 wounded in the attacks, and warned that the figures were “most likely…a fraction of the total” of civilian casualties suffered from Ukraine’s cluster munition use. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence rejected the findings shared by HRW, responding that “cluster munitions were not used within or around the city of Izium in 2022 when it was under Russian occupation.”[27]

At least 10 types of cluster munitions and three types of individual submunitions have been used in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. These types are all launched from the ground in missiles, rockets, and mortar projectiles; aside from the RBK-series cluster bomb, which is delivered by aircraft. With the exception of an Israeli-designed cluster munition, the cluster munitions used in Ukraine were manufactured either in the Soviet Union prior to 1991 or in Russia, some as recently as 2021.

Cluster munitions Used in Ukraine (2022–2023)

Ground-fired rockets and missiles

  • The 220mm 9M27K-series Uragan (“Hurricane”) cluster munition rocket, which has a range of 10–35km and delivers 30 9N210 or 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 300mm 9M55K-series Smerch (“Tornado”) cluster munition rocket, which has a range of 20–70km and delivers 72 9N210 or 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 300mm 9M54-series “Tornado-S” cluster munition guided missile, which delivers 552 3B30 dual-purpose 9M544 submunitions or 72 9M549 antipersonnel submunitions;
  • The 9M549 Tornado-S cluster munition guided missile, which delivers 72 9N235 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 9M79-series Tochka ballistic missile, which is equipped with the 9N123K warhead containing 50 9N24 fragmentation submunitions; and
  • The Iskander-M 9M723K1 ballistic missile, which contains 54 9N730 dual-purpose submunitions.

Ground-fired artillery and mortar projectiles

  • The 203mm 3-O-14 artillery projectile, each delivering 24 O-16 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 152mm 3-O-13 artillery projectile, each delivering eight O-16 fragmentation submunitions;
  • The 3-O-8 240mm mortar projectile, each delivering O-10 fragmentation submunitions; and
  • The M971 120mm mortar projectile, each containing 24 M87 dual-purpose submunitions.

Air-dropped bombs

  • The RBK-500 PTAB-1M cluster bomb, containing 268 PTAB-1M high explosive/antitank submunitions;
  • Individual ShOAB-0.5 fragmentation submunitions (photographed in the Donetsk region); and
  • Individual PTAB-2.5 dual-purpose submunitions (photographed being modified for use in drone-dropped munitions).

The use of cluster munitions in Ukraine has been condemned by at least 40 states in national or joint statements at UN bodies such as the UNGA, the Human Rights Council, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as of 1 July 2023.[28] The cluster munition attacks have also been condemned by the European Union (EU), the NATO Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs and Experts, and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

In March 2022, the UK, then-president of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, expressed grave concern at the use of cluster munitions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ambassador Aidan Liddle, Permanent Representative of the UK to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, said he “calls upon all those that continue to use such weapons to cease immediately, and calls upon all states that have not yet done so to join the Convention without delay.”[29]

Previous Use

Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed anti-government forces used cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine from July 2014 until a ceasefire in February 2015, according to independent investigations conducted by HRW and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).[30] Both parties used two types of ground-fired cluster munitions: the 300mm 9M55K-series Smerch (“Tornado”) cluster munition rocket, containing 72 9N235 submunitions; and the 220mm 9M27K-series Uragan (“Hurricane”) cluster munition rocket, containing 30 9N235 or 9N210 submunitions.[31]

Neither party to the conflict accepted responsibility for using cluster munitions. Ukraine repeatedly denied use and attributed the attacks to pro-Russian separatist groups and members of the Russian Armed Forces.[32] Russia repeatedly drew attention to Ukraine’s use of cluster munitions but never acknowledged its role in the cluster munition attacks.[33]

The 2014–2015 cluster munition attacks in Ukraine attracted widespread media coverage, public outcry, and condemnations from at least 32 states and the EU.[34]

Previously, in 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official stated that Ukraine did not intend to use cluster munitions, except to defend itself from “outside aggression.”[35]


[1] Statement of Ukraine, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Cluster Munitions, 8 April 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[2] Letter No. 4132/36-196-771 from Amb. Yuriy A. Sergeyev, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, 23 April 2012; and Letter No. 181/017 from the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN in Geneva, 29 April 2010.

[3] In 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that Ukraine’s “negative experience” with the destruction of its antipersonnel mine stockpiles under the Mine Ban Treaty was influencing how it viewed the Convention on Cluster Munitions. CMC meeting with Ruslan Nimchynskyi, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Armaments Control and Military Technical Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Vientiane, 11 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[4] For details on Ukraine’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 249–250.

[5] Ukraine participated as an observer at the convention’s Meetings of States Parties in 2010–2011 and 2014.

[6]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[7]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 74/169, 18 December 2019. Ukraine voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions on Syria in 2013–2018. See also, “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” Human Rights Council Resolution 43/28, 22 June 2020.  

[8] CMC meeting with Ruslan Nimchynskyi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Vientiane, 11 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[9] For example, at the Munich Security Conference in February 2023, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, Olexander Kubrakov, and foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, appealed for Ukraine to be supplied with cluster munitions. Kubrakov said, “Russia is using cluster munitions every day. Our people are dying. Why can’t we receive and use such weapons? The US has millions of rounds, which we want. It’s complicated with conventions, but we can use such weapons.” See, Munich Security Conference, “Spotlight: Ukraine,” 18 February 2023. See also, “NATO Secretary General rejects Ukraine’s demand for cluster munitions,” Ukrainska Pravda, 18 February 2023.

[11] US Department of Defense press release, “Biden Administration Announces Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine,” 7 July 2023.

[13] John Ismay, “Cluster Weapons U.S. Is Sending Ukraine Often Fail to Detonate,” The New York Times, 8 July 2023; and Karen DeYoung, Alex Horton, and Missy Ryan, “Biden approves cluster munition supply to Ukraine,” The Washington Post, 7 July 2023.

[14] Oleksii Reznikov (oleksiireznikov), “We welcome the decision of the US to provide Ukraine with the new liberation weapons that will significantly help us to de-occupy our territories while saving the lives of the Ukrainian soldiers.” 7 July 2023, 21:13 UTC. Tweet.

[15] In June 2023, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, Gen. Mark Milley, told media that “other European countries have provided some” cluster munitions to Ukraine in recent months. Ashley Roque, “White House weighing controversial cluster munitions deliveries to Ukraine,” Breaking Defense News, 30 June 2023. See also, Sabrina Singh, Deputy Press Secretary, US Department of Defense, on “Meet The Press NOW – July 13,” NBC News,, 13 July 2023; and US Department of Defense, “Lt. Gen. Douglas A. Sims II (USA), Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff; Brigadier General Pat Ryder, Pentagon Press Secretary, Hold a Press Briefing,” 13 July 2023.

[16] Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer, “Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine,” Foreign Policy, 10 January 2023. The Turkish president’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Kalin, denied the report and reportedly stated, “We don’t have cluster munitions and we haven’t provided them to Ukraine.” Ragip Soylu, “Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey denies supplying Kyiv with cluster munitions,” Middle East Eye, 14 January 2023. Ukraine’s ambassador to Türkiye, Vasyl Bodnar, denied the alleged transfer as “Russian propaganda.” Mustafa Deveci, “Ukrainian envoy in Türkiye denies claims Ankara sending cluster bombs to Ukraine,” Anadolu Agency, 11 January 2023.

[17] Madis Hindre, “Estonia weighing giving Ukraine cluster munitions,” ERR News, 26 January 2023.

[18] Antonia Faltermaier, “Cluster bombs for Ukraine? Pistorius makes a clear statement,” Berliner Morgenpost, 23 February 2023.

[19] War in Ukraine (Rinegati), “In Ukraine, something very similar to Israeli M971 mortar cluster munitions has been spotted. Unlike standard cluster munitions, the M971 has a built-in self-destruct mechanism for unexploded submunitions, making them much safer for civilians.” 12:50 UTC, 18 December 2022. Tweet (no longer available online); Ukraine Weapons Tracker (UAWeapons), “Who supplied them to Ukraine? That’s not clear. A very limited number of countries reported possession of such mortar bombs and we tend to believe what we see was exported from a country which previously purchased these bombs from Israel.” 20:18 UTC, 17 December 2022. Tweet; and “Ukraine received M971 cluster bombs (VIDEO),” UA.TV, 18 December 2022.

[20] “Impact of the CCW Draft Protocol VI (current version) on Ukraine’s Defense Capability,” presentation of Ukraine to the CCW-GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 1 April 2011, slides 3–4. The ZAB-series submunitions referenced by the Government of Ukraine are incendiary submunitions, not explosive submunitions.

[21] “Impact of the CCW Draft Protocol VI (current version) on Ukraine’s Defense Capability,” presentation of Ukraine to the CCW-GGE on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 1 April 2011, Slide 2.

[22] Ibid.

[24] Thomas Gibbons-Neff and John Ismay, “To Push Back Russians, Ukrainians Hit a Village With Cluster Munitions,” The New York Times, 18 April 2022.

[27] Letter to HRW from the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, 22 June 2023.

[28] Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

[29] Statement by Amb. Aidan Liddle, Permanent Representative of the UK to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 3 March 2022.

[31] Because types of submunitions are identical in size, shape, and color, the only way to distinguish them is by their external markings and by measuring the size of the pre-formed fragments they contain. The Smerch and Uragan cluster munition rockets are fired from dedicated multi-barrel launchers mounted on an eight-wheeled vehicle. The 9N210 and 9N235 fragmentation submunitions are designed to self-destruct 1–2 minutes after being ejected from the rocket. Yet a significant number of cluster munition rockets malfunctioned after launch and fell to the ground with their full payload intact, while submunitions often failed to self-destruct as designed.

[32] The then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, acknowledged the “serious accusations…deserve the deepest investigation.” Letter from Pavlo Klimkin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the editor of The New York Times, 30 October 2014. See also, statement of Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, Vienna, 29 October 2014; and statement of Ukraine, CCW Protocol IV Meeting, Geneva, 12 November 2014. Notes by the CMC. At the UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October 2015, Ukraine continued to allege that “Russia-guided illegal armed groups” and members of the Russian Armed Forces carried out Uragan and Smerch rocket attacks in eastern Ukraine. See, statement of Ukraine, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 13 October 2015.

[33] See, statement of Russia, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, Vienna, 10 December 2014.

[34] The following states condemned the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burundi, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Slovenia, Somalia, Switzerland, UK, and US. At the Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference in September 2015, States Parties adopted the Dubrovnik Declaration, which affirms: “We are deeply concerned by any and all allegations, reports or documented evidence of the use of cluster munitions, including in…Ukraine. We condemn any use of cluster munitions by any actor.” See, “Annex 1: The Dubrovnik declaration 2015: Spectemur agendo (judged by our actions),” Final Report of the Convention on Cluster Munitions First Review Conference, CCM/CONF/2015/7, Dubrovnik, 13 October 2015, pp. 7–9.

[35] CMC meeting with Ruslan Nimchynskyi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Vientiane, 11 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

Treaty and Voting Status (see profiles to the right)

Mine Ban Treaty / Status: state party
Convention on Cluster Munitions / Status: non-signatory
Convention on Conventional Weapons / Status: Ratified 
Convention on Conventional Weapons / Amended Protocol II: Consented to be bound
Convention on Conventional Weapons / Protocol V: Consented to be bound
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities / Status: Ratified 
2018 UNGA Resolutions: 73/61 (landmines) -- 73/54 (cluster munitions) In favor - Abstained