By Katrina Quick LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cluster bomb attacks and unexploded munitions killed or injured nearly 1,600 people in Syria in the past two years – 97 percent of them civilians – an international campaign group said on Wednesday. Both South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, and Ukraine also used cluster munitions in the first half of 2014, defying the 2008 treaty banning the production, stockpiling and use of the weapons, the Cluster Munition Coalition said in the report. “Appallingly, last year in Syria there were more casualties and civilian suffering from cluster munitions than at any other time or place since Monitor reporting began,” said Megan Burke of the Survivor Network Project, editor of the casualties and victim assistance chapter of the report. The report said there were at least 1,584 casualties from cluster munition attacks and unexploded submunitions in Syria over the last two years, and that 97 percent of them were civilians, the highest rate ever recorded.
Kiev has accused the servicemen of conducting a "special mission" in support of a separatist pro-Russian insurgency in its eastern regions. Moscow denies the charge, saying the troops had strayed across the border by mistake. Nine of the 10 captured soldiers told a news conference in Kiev they had received very little information before setting off on their patrol and that they had no previous combat experience. "We are not informed at all ... We either got lost or not, we were sent there, we didn't know the way or where we were going," said serviceman Ivan Romantsev, the self-appointed leader of the group.