A new study by Amnesty International has revealed that Russia has killed hundreds of civilians in the northeastern city of Kharkiv using indiscriminate bombing and cluster munitions, which are widely banned weapons.
Amnesty said it had found evidence that Russian forces had repeatedly used it Cluster bombs 9N210 / 9N235, as well as “dispersible” munitions, which are missiles that eject smaller mines that subsequently explode at set intervals.
The BBC visited five sites in residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv and found evidence of a distinct disposal effect associated with cluster munitions. This method showed pictures of the sites of Three weapons expertswho said the strikes were consistent with controversial weapons.
“These cluster munition strikes, it’s a classic signature“And in one of the photos you can see the remnants of a stability fin from one of the submunitions,” said Mark Hesney, senior researcher in the armaments division of the non-profit organization Human Rights Watch.
Photos submitted to the BBC by A resident Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former colonel in the British Army and a weapons expert at the University of Cambridge, said at one site that they showed successive and combined detonations, “a very strong indication of the presence of submunitions from a cluster weapon.”
Cluster munitions are Controversial Because they explode in mid-air, they shoot a bunch of smaller bombs that fall randomly over a wide area, potentially endangering civilians.
The bomblets rarely explode on impact, which is the threat for the coming years.
More than 120 countries have signed a treaty banning the use of this type of weapon, although neither Russia nor Ukraine has signed.
The attack in the Kharkiv district
In one of the places where he appeared Cluster munition attack In Kharkiv, in the Industrialnyi district, the impact of rocks was visible near a residential property and a children’s playground.
Oksana, the wife of Ivan Litvinenko, was seriously injured in the attack and its aftermath he died.
Litvinenko, 40, told the BBC that the couple walked through the yard With her five-year-old daughter when the ammunition fell. Her 14-year-old son was inside her apartment.
“Suddenly I saw a flash Litvinenko said, and I heard the first explosion. I grabbed my daughter and pressed her to a tree. My wife was about five meters away and fell.”
Oksana, 41, was injured a shrapnel Which penetrated his back, chest and stomach, penetrated his lungs and damaged his spine.
there was intensive care For two months, until Sunday, when he died of complications from his injuries and diabetes, Litvinenko said. “Doctors operated on her several times, but her body could not survive,” he said, a few hours after his death.
Describing the attack, Litvinenko said he saw “a bangs seriesMany bombs, one after another.
Two other residents who were inside their house Apartments They told the BBC at the time of the incident that they heard successive explosions. “You could hear explosions for several minutes,” said 26-year-old Dania Volents. “When we got out, I could see the cars on fire. It looked like everything was on fire.”
Tetiana Ahiva, a 53-year-old nurse, was standing in front of her house building when he was Ammo. “There was the sudden sound of crackers everywhere, many and everywhere,” he told Amnesty International.
“We hit the ground and tried to find it Shelter. And the son of our neighbor died immediately, a 16-year-old boy named Artem Shevchenko. He had a hole half an inch wide in his chest. His father had a broken thigh and shrapnel in his leg.”
Doctors at a central hospital in Kharkiv who treated victims after the attack on the stadium said they saw Penetrating wounds in the abdomen, chest and backand metal fragments identical to the types of pellets found in 9N210/9N235 cluster munitions were collected.
according to AmnestiesIn the attack on the industrial district, at least 9 civilians were killed and 35 wounded in an explosion in an area of 700 square meters.
In another apartment building, in the district of Haribaldi Street in Kharkiv, A Ammo He fell into the entrance, killing two older women and seriously injuring another.
“There was one series of explosions after another,” said Nadia Kravchuk, 61. “I went out and saw a woman lying on her stomach and another woman lying here, and next to them was Lina, who had lost her legs. She was screaming:”I lost my leg“”.
Tetiana Belova and Olina Sorokina were sitting on a bench outside when a shell exploded nearby. They got up to enter the building but second ammunition She fell right into the doorway, killing Belova and another woman named Tetiana who was with them. Sorokina lost her legs in the explosion.
Amnesty International recorded during a two-week field investigation 41 attacks in KharkivThe organization said that at least 62 civilians were killed and 196 wounded.
His researchers found evidence of Cluster munitions and unguided rockets They killed people who were shopping, queuing for food aid, or walking in the street.
“These weapons should never be usedDonatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, told the BBC: “They are not identifiable. They are area weapons with devastating effect and causing many civilian deaths and injuries.”
The use of weapons was ‘equivalent to deliberate attack civilians“Russia cannot claim that it does not know the effect of these types of weapons. The decision to use them shows a complete disregard for civilian life,” Rovera said.
Russia He has previously denied using cluster munitions in Ukraine and insists his forces have only bombed military targets.
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