BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany called on Wednesday for closer examination of allegations that Ukraine government forces used cluster munitions in their military campaign against pro-Russian separatists.
The allegations were contained in a report by Human Rights Watch, which said evidence pointed to Kiev's forces using cluster bombs this month in Donetsk, the rebels' main stronghold in eastern Ukraine. The report said the rebels may have used similar weapons.
"The German government has a strong interest in getting these events cleared up and by that I of course mean the events regarding the alleged use of cluster bombs," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a news conference.
"We call upon the parties in the conflict to co-operate in a thorough clarification of the events," he added.
Spokesmen for the Kiev government's military operation and the pro-Russian rebels they are fighting have rejected the allegations.
Seibert said Germany could not pass judgment on the truth of the claims, but called the accusations "serious".
Cluster bombs explode in the air, scattering dozens of smaller bomblets over an area the size of a sports field. Most nations have banned their use under a convention that became international law in 2010, but Ukraine has not signed it.
Seibert said using such bombs was "inhumane" and if they were used in Ukraine, the German government would strongly condemn this.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)