At least three civilians have reportedly been killed in the alleged cluster bomb attack, which was said to have destroyed five homes and damaged 11 apartment blocks and 39 homes. The accusations from the Kremlin have been supported with supposed footage of the destruction in Belgorod though this footage has not been verified.
Officials from Ukraine have so far refused to comment on the accusations, which would severely escalate the war if proven to be true as cluster munitions are widely banned.
Evidence has shown that Russia has previously used such weaponry in their attack on Ukraine, with Amnesty International saying that there is evidence of repeated use of 9N210/9N235 cluster bombs and “scatterable” munitions.
When the research by Amnesty was revealed last month, the non-governmental organisation’s senior crisis response adviser Donatella Rovera told the BBC: “These weapons should never be used.
“They cannot be pinpointed. They are area weapons.
“And they have a devastating effect and can cause a lot of civilian death and injury.”
According to Ms Rovera, the use of cluster weapons is “tantamount to deliberately targeting civilians…and the decision to use them shows absolute disregard for civilian life”.
Russia has denied the accusations and reiterated that they have only aimed and hit military targets.
It is thought that the accusations from the Kremlin may well be part of a ‘false flag’ operation which Russia has repeatedly been accused of in an attempt to increase hostility towards Kyiv and its allies.
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Senior Russian politician Andrei Klishas wrote on Telegram: “The death of civilians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Belgorod are a direct act of aggression on the part of Ukraine and require the most severe – including a military – response.”
The Belgorod region governor Vyacheslav Gladkov told Russian media that “all medical assistance is being provided” to those from the supposed attack area.
He added: “At the moment, there is information about three dead.”
A spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defence said: “Tonight [Sunday], between 3:00 and 3:30 Moscow time, the Kyiv regime carried out a deliberate strike with Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis drones on residential areas of Belgorod and Kursk, where there are no military facilities.”
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The spokesperson added that the missile defence systems had destroyed the three Tochka-U missiles and the debris hit the houses.
Such missiles are Soviet-made and explode above the ground splitting into hundreds of pieces that can impact the body in multiple places to have the most impact in injuring and killing targets.
Russia used such weapons on a packed-out train station full of refugees in Kramatorsk, Donbas in April, killing at least 59 people and injuring 110.