A Ukrainian cluster munitions missile strike on Monday hit a residential area in the eastern city of Donetsk, killing 20 people and injuring 28, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
A Tochka-U missile went off over a bus stop where civilians, mostly women and children, were waiting for a bus, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters in Moscow.
"As a result of the explosion of a cluster warhead in the center of Donetsk, 20 civilians were killed. Another 28 people, including children, were seriously injured and taken to medical institutions," he said.
According to Konashenkov, the decision to use this type of missile was made after approval by the leadership of the Ukrainian armed forces in the capital Kyiv.
Donetsk is in an area of Ukraine controlled by Russian separatists, in an enclave Moscow recognized as independent before launching the war on Feb. 24.
"The use of such weapons in a city where there are no firing positions of the armed forces is obviously against the civilian population, and is a war crime,” said Konashenkov.
"Loading the tactical missile Tochka-U with cluster ammunition proves that the purpose of the nationalists' strike on the city was to kill as many civilians as possible," he said.
The Russia-Ukraine war, which began on Feb. 24, has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
At least 596 civilians have been killed and 1,067 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to the UN, while noting that conditions on the ground make it difficult to verify the true number.
Nearly 2.7 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, said the UN refugee agency.