Russian President Vladimir Putin in a file photo. EFE-EPA/FILE/ALEXEI DANICHEV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL

Putin warns Russia will ‘mirror actions’ if Ukraine uses US-supplied cluster bombs

Moscow, July 16 (EFE).- President Vladimir Putin has threatened that his forces would use cluster bombs if Ukraine used such ammunition against Russian forces, claiming that his country had a “sufficient stockpile” of the lethal weapons.

In an interview with the state-run TV network, Put also noted that the so-called counteroffensive by the Ukrainian forces had failed to break the Russian defenses.

Reacting sharply to the decision by the United States to supply cluster bombs to Ukraine in the war against Russia, the Russian president said Washington was doing it because the Ukrainians were “running low on ammunition in general.”

Senior US military commander, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, said last week the US-supplied munitions were already in Ukraine.

The US delivered the weapons announced earlier this month as part of an $800 million arms package despite concerns over their lasting deadly legacy on the battlefield well after hostilities conclude.

Putin reminded the US of previously calling the use of cluster bombs a “crime.”

“The use of cluster munitions was called a crime by the US administration itself. This is how I think it should be regarded,” he said.

He threatened that Moscow would retaliate similarly if the Ukrainian forces used cluster bombs.

“Of course, if they are used against us, we reserve the right to mirror actions,” Putin said in an interview for Russian TV.

“All enemy attempts to break through our defenses… they have not succeeded since the offensive began. The enemy is not successful,” Putin said in the interview.

Excerpts of the interview were published on Sunday, days after Ukraine admitted encountering “difficult” battles in the war against Russia.

The Russian leader praised the heroism of his troops.

Putin said Russian forces surprise the enemy with offensive operations in certain areas, enabling them to take advantageous heights and positions.

Earlier this week, Putin claimed that Western tanks burn better than Soviet ones, claiming that the Russian Army has destroyed hundreds of Western-made tanks, including German Leopards, since the beginning of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in early June. EFE