Amnesty International has accused Russian forces of committing war crimes by killing hundreds of civilians in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv by indiscriminately using widely banned cluster munitions and inherently inaccurate rockets.
A new report, ‘Anyone can die at any time’: Indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, documents how Russian forces have caused widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighbourhoods of Kharkiv since their invasion began on February 24.
Amnesty International claims that during an extensive investigation, their researchers found evidence of Russian forces repeatedly using 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions as well as scatterable mines, both of which are subject to international treaty bans because of their indiscriminate effects.
“The people of Kharkiv have faced a relentless barrage of indiscriminate attacks in recent months, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser.
“The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives. The Russian forces responsible for these horrific attacks must be held accountable for their actions, and victims and their families must receive full reparations,” she added.
While Russia is not a party to either the Convention on Cluster Munitions or the Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines, international humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate attacks, and the use of weapons that are indiscriminate by nature. Launching indiscriminate attacks resulting in death or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects, constitutes war crimes.
606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region since the conflict began, the London-based human rights organization quoted the director of the Medical Department at the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration as saying.
Meanwhile, a ship carrying 18,000 tons of Ukrainian corn arrived Monday at a port in northwestern Spain, using a new maritime route evading Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv to meet with Ukraine’s President Volodymir Zelensky to discuss the country’s EU membership.
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