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HomeDefenceU.S. Promises Ukraine Cluster Bombs, Once Killers of Civilians in Laos

U.S. Promises Ukraine Cluster Bombs, Once Killers of Civilians in Laos

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The United States has promised to provide Ukraine with cluster bombs, which once killed many civilians in Laos, said an article published by National Public Radio (NPR) on Tuesday.

Between 1964 and 1973, the Americans flew 580,000 bombing runs over Laos, and U.S. aircraft dumped 2,093,100 tons of ordnance on the landlocked nation, the article said, citing U.S. Defense Department figures.

During that period, the CIA-paid mercenaries and U.S. Air Force pilots dropped cluster bombs in Laos. About 200,000 civilians and soldiers, one-tenth of Laos’s population, were killed, and 50,000 of the civilians were victims of cluster bombs, the article said.

“What makes the cluster bombs in Laos particularly insidious is that the vast number that didn’t initially explode remain deadly all these decades later,” it said.

“Because the bomblets are designed to blow up just before hitting the ground, very little pressure or movement can explode a dud instantly. An estimated 80 million — over 30 percent of those dropped — failed to detonate,” the article said.

Laos to this day remains the most heavily bombed country in the history of the world, according to the article.

Less than 1 percent of the dormant bombs have been cleared since the war ended in Laos, and about 20,000 civilians have been killed during the same period. Even as the numbers gradually decline, thousands continue to be killed, crippled and disfigured, with half the victims being children, it added. 

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