Research by the Guardian in Bucha, Hostomel and Borodianka in Ukraine has unearthed evidence of Russian use of cluster munitions. Some of the pictures collected in these areas have been analyzed by Bellingcat, a nonprofit online journalism collective "dedicated to war crime investigations", and purportedly prove that "Russian troops had used cluster munitions, cluster bombs and extremely powerful unguided bombs in populated areas, which have destroyed at least eight civilian buildings". Russia continues to deny targeting civilians in the war.
Cluster munitions are designed to release many smaller bombs over a wide area, meaning they are indiscriminate in the casualties they can cause, especially in urban areas. In addition, the submunitions do not always immediately explode, posing a further risk to civilians in the future.
The use of cluster munitions is banned by international law by a 2008 Convention which has been signed by a large number of countries around the world. Russia and Ukraine are currently non-signatories, as is the United States which, along with Russia, is still a producer of cluster munitions according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor. Ukraine has allegedly also used cluster munitions in the ongoing war, with the New York Times reporting an incident in March which is not thought to have led to any civilian casualties.