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Russian Federation

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The Russian Federation has not acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and nor has it committed to action against the use of EWIPA. 


At the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in January 2015, Russia condemned the shelling of cities in Ukraine earlier that month.[1]

At the 2015 Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) the Russian Federation raised concerns with the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), especially by illegal armed groups or “terrorists”. However, while many countries called for further work on this issue, Russia warned that the CCW has a “rather limited mandate … on this issue.” It stressed that further work must “fully comply with the subject and objectives of the Convention.”[2]

At the UN Security Council Open Debate War in Cities: Protection of Civilians in Urban Settings on 25 January 2022, the Russian Federation argued that non-state armed groups have used hospitals, schools, and other civilian areas for military purposes, “turning them into legitimate targets for attack.” Without explicitly referencing the work to create a political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, the Russian Federation objected to “attempts to invent endless innovative concepts to fill imaginary lacunae,” which it argued dilutes international norms. It argued that existing treaties and legal framework like international humanitarian law (IHL) are sufficient to protect civilians, including in urban warfare, and that IHL norms have a particular degree of “flexibility” to ensure precautions taken correspond to the context.[3]

The Russian Federation participated in the Vienna Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019[4] and in the second round of consultations in Geneva in February 2020,[5] but it did not issue any statement on the subject or submit any written contributions.


[1] INEW (2015). “Indiscriminate Harm: Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas Raised at UN Protection Debate, Expert Meeting Announced’.

[2] INEW (2015). ‘States Highlight Humanitarian Harm caused by Explosive Weapons at UN meeting’.

[3] Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2022). ‘UN Security Council Debates War in Cities and the Protection of Civilians’.

[4] INEW (2019). ‘Vienna Conference Marks Turning Point as States Support Negotiation of an International Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons’.

[5] Laura Boillot, Article 36 (2020). ‘More Than 70 States Engage in Discussions on Political Declaration’.

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