Russia Asked to Clear Bombs

TBILISI, Georgia — A leading human rights group urged Russia on Thursday to clear unexploded Russian bombs it said were littering some areas of the Georgian countryside and endangering the population.

Human Rights Watch said a particular danger was posed by cluster bombs — shells that divide before impact into a multitude of smaller "bomblets" — used during the brief war between Georgia and Russia.

"Highly dangerous unexploded bomblets now litter farms, roads and pathways in Shindisi and Pkhvenisi [in central Georgia]," Marc Garlasco, HRW's senior military analyst, said in a statement.

"People remaining in these areas don't realize the danger these submunitions pose and are at serious risk of injury or death if they handle, or even approach, the bomblets."

HRW said that though Russia had denied deploying cluster bombs, many people had died because of their use in the conflict.

"Many more people could be killed or wounded unless Russia allows professional de-mining organizations to enter at once to clear the affected areas," Garlasco said.