Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 August 2022


Non-signatory Belarus acknowledges the humanitarian rationale of the Convention on Cluster Munitions but has not taken any steps to accede. It has never participated in a meeting of the convention and has abstained from voting on the annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention.

Belarus has not produced cluster munitions, nor is it known to have used or exported them. It inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions from the Soviet Union but has not provided information on the types or quantities possessed.


The Republic of Belarus has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Belarus rarely comments on its position on joining the convention.[1] After the convention was adopted in 2008, Belarus said it “shares the humanitarian concerns” caused by cluster munitions but objected to the way that the convention was negotiated outside UN auspices.[2]

Belarus did not participate in the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and has never participated in a meeting of the convention.[3]

Belarus has abstained from voting on the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution supporting the implementation and universalization of the convention, most recently in December 2021.[4] Belarus has never explained why it abstains when other non-signatories vote for the non-legally binding resolution.

Belarus is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, and completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in 2017.

Belarus is also a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), and in the past has expressed a preference for cluster munitions to be addressed through this framework convention.

Use, production, and transfer

In 2010, Belarus stated, “Our country is not a producer of cluster munitions.”[5] Belarus is not known to have used cluster munitions.

Since 2014–2016 Belarus has developed and produced the Polonez multi-barrel rocket launcher to replace older systems. This launcher is based on the A200 launcher system of Chinese design and reportedly uses a variety of 300mm rockets, including a “fragmentation armour piercing cluster.”[6] According to the database of arms transfers maintained by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Belarus exported six Polonez launchers to Azerbaijan in 2018. These weapons were used during the 2020 conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, but it is not known if cluster munition rockets were fired from these launchers.


Belarus inherited a stockpile of cluster munitions from the Soviet Union, but it has never provided public information on the types and quantities that it possesses.[7]

According to Jane’s Information Group, the Belarusian Air Force has RBK-500 series cluster bombs.[8] Belarus also possessed Grad 122mm, Uragan 220mm, and Smerch 300mm surface-to-surface rockets, but it is not known if these include versions with cluster munition payload.[9] This uncertainty extends further as Belarus has exported its older Grad (to Angola and Turkmenistan) and Uragan (to Angola) multi-barrel rocket launchers since 2010.[10]

[1] In November 2010, a government representative told the CMC that the convention is “too strict” and not applicable for Belarus as it may threaten its security. CMC meeting with Ivan Grinevich, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, in Geneva, 30 November 2010. Notes by the CMC.

[2] Statement of Belarus, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 30 October 2008. Translation provided by email from Tatiana Fedorovich, Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN in New York, 26 November 2008.

[3] For details on Belarus’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. 190–191.

[4]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 76/47, 6 December 2021. Belarus also abstained from voting on this annual UNGA resolution from 2015–2020.

[5] Statement of Belarus, CCW Group of Governmental Experts on Cluster Munitions, Geneva, 1 September 2010. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

[6] See, Army Technology projects database, accessed 14 June 2021.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2004), p. 836.

[9] International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), The Military Balance 2011 (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 89; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2008).

[10] SIPRI, “Arms Transfers Database,” Belarus, “Transfers of major weapons: Deals with deliveries or orders made for 2010 to 2020,” generated 14 June 2021.