Russia on Saturday accused Ukrainian forces of killing a Russian journalist in the southern Zaporizhzhia region using US-provided cluster munitions, which are widely banned due to the harm they cause civilians.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that Rostislav Zhuravlev, a reporter for Russia’s RIA news agency, was killed, and three other journalists were wounded by a Ukrainian artillery attack.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the responsibility for the journalist’s death “will also be shared by those who have sent cluster munitions,” referring to the US.
The US has said that Ukraine is already using US-provided cluster munitions, but the Russian claim that cluster bombs killed Zhuravlev is not confirmed. On Sunday, the Russian investigative Committee announced a probe into his death.
The committee accused Ukrainian forces of “purposefully” firing at a group of Russian journalists but did not specifically mention cluster munitions in an announcement of the investigation on its website.
There have been other reports from Russian and Russian-backed officials about Ukraine using US-provided cluster munitions. A spokesman for law enforcement agencies in Luhansk claimed Sunday that Ukrainian forces were using them in the region.
“The enemy has begun to use foreign-made cluster munitions in the LPR. They hit the village of Zolotarevka. Data on casualties is being verified,” the official said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
The White House said on July 20 that Ukrainian forces were using cluster munitions “quite effectively.” In February 2022, the White House said the use of cluster bombs in Ukraine would “potentially be a war crime.”