Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged Ukraine not to employ US-provided cluster bombs in its war against Russia, pointing to the US legacy of cluster munition use in his country as a warning.
“It would be the greatest danger for Ukrainians for many years or up to a hundred years if cluster bombs are used in Russian-occupied areas in the territory of Ukraine,” Hun Sen wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Cluster munitions spread small bomblets over large areas, and many don’t explode on impact, making them a hazard for civilians who could come across them. According to US bombing data, the US dropped 26 million cluster bomblets on Cambodia during the Vietnam War, and about 25% did not explode.
Since 1979, about 20,000 Cambodians have been killed by unexploded American bombs and land mines planted during Cambodia’s civil war.
Hun Sen pointed to Cambodia’s “painful experience” of resulting from the US dropping cluster bombs on the country, something Cambodians are still dealing with today. “It has been more than half a century. There have been no means to destroy them all yet,” he said.
The Cambodian leader called on the US not to supply the cluster bombs and for Ukraine not to use them. “As my pity for 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 the war because the real victims will be Ukrainians,” he said.