The non-governmental organization Amnesty International presented yesterday a report on Russian war crimes in Ukraine entitled “Anyone can die at any time.”
It documented the killing of civilians by Russian troops and the infliction of massive damage from indiscriminate and continuous shelling. In the report, the organization accused Russia of committing war crimes, pointing out that hundreds of Ukrainian civilians were killed in attacks on Kharkiv, including using cluster munitions.
An in-depth investigation, the human rights NGO says in the report, has produced abundant evidence that Russian forces used 9N210 and 9N235 cluster munitions, two types banned by international treaties, in seven attacks on neighborhoods in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city in the country’s northeast. . Donatella Rovera, crisis and conflict researcher at Amnesty, says:
“People have been killed in their homes, on the street, in playgrounds, in cemeteries, while waiting in line for humanitarian aid or to buy food and medicine. The repeated use of banned cluster munitions is shocking and demonstrates a complete disregard for civilian life.”
The Amnesty report highlights that while Russia is not a signatory to either the international convention on cluster munitions or the convention on anti-personnel mines, international humanitarian law explicitly prohibits attacks using weapons that by their nature inflict indiscriminate strikes without distinction and constitute a war crime. Here are just some of the facts.
Tatyana Akhayeva, 53, a nurse, was standing at the entrance to her house when several cluster bombs exploded on 15 April. She says: “Suddenly there was a crackling sound, as if fireworks were falling everywhere. I could see clouds of smoke where the explosions were taking place. We ducked and tried to find cover. Our neighbor’s son, a 16-year-old teenager, was killed on the spot.”
Veronika Cherevichko lost her right leg on March 12 when a Grad rocket hit the playground in front of her house. She recalls: “I was sitting on a bench when it happened. I remember hearing a hissing sound before the explosion. Then I woke up in the hospital, my right leg was gone.”
Three people were killed and six injured when cluster munitions exploded in the same area on April 26, according to the organization. Elena Sorokina, 57, who beat cancer, lost both legs. She was sitting near her house and waiting for the delivery of humanitarian aid, when she heard the sound of a shell in the air and ran to the entrance of her house. She says: “After battling cancer, I now face a new battle – learning to live without legs.”
Amnesty investigated 41 strikes that killed at least 62 people and injured 196 others. For two weeks in April and May, NGO members collected testimonies from 160 residents of Kharkiv – survivors, eyewitnesses and relatives of victims, reports cnn.gr.