Reports accusing Russia of using cluster and vacuum munitions in the conflict in Ukraine are "false," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
"It's worth remembering that in a large number of cases which you've mentioned, we're talking about attacks by the same nationalist units which use civilian objects as a human shield," he added, answering a question on reports of attacks on non-military infrastructure and built-up areas.
The Russian military and the Donetsk and Lugansk people's militias have reported multiple instances of Ukrainian volunteer battalions using Grad artillery against urban areas containing civilians as they retreat from their positions. Similar attacks have been reported on towns and cities in the Donbass republics. The Russian MoD has accused the Ukrainian Army and nationalist units of deploying artillery and mortar system in heavily built up areas to shield them from Russian attack. On Monday, the MoD accused
Ukraine of using phosphorus munitions in areas around Kiev and near Gostomel Airport on a wide scale.
On Monday, Ukraine's ambassador to the US accused Russia of using a vacuum bomb - a type of thermobaric weapon which takes in oxygen to create extremely powerful explosions, against Ukrainian forces at an army base in Okhtyrka. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she could not confirm the information, but said if the reports were "true, it would potentially be a war crime." Separately, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch charged Russian forces with using cluster munitions, including to target a preschool containing civilians.
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated Tuesday that Russian troops were doing everything possible to preserve civilian lives, including
by limiting attacks to military objects using precision weapons.