HRW confirms that Russian troops used cluster bombs on the population in the Ukrainian region of Kharkov

A Ukrainian policeman in front of the Opera building in the city of Kharkov amid the invasion by the Russian Army

A Ukrainian policeman in front of the Opera building in the city of Kharkov amid the invasion by the Russian Army – -/Ukrinform/dpa

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The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has confirmed that Russian troops used cluster bombs on the population of Kharkiv on February 28 and has pointed out that these attacks may constitute war crimes.

“Kharkov is under relentless attack by Russian forces and civilians are hiding in basements to avoid explosions and debris,” said HRW Arms Director Steve Goose, denouncing that “the use of cluster in populated areas shows a blatant and callous disregard for people’s lives.”

The NGO has verified and analyzed at least 25 videos and photographs posted on social media showing three attacks or their immediate aftermath in the north, northeast and southeast of the city and another 15 images taken by two witnesses after one of the attacks. in the Shevchenkivskii district.

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Specifically, one of the videos analyzed by the organization, published on Telegram at 11:29 a.m. (local time) on February 28, shows multiple explosions consistent with the use of cluster bombs in the northeastern district of Moskovskii, in the city of Kharkiv.

Two more videos, one posted on Telegram at 12:55 p.m. (local time) that day and another posted on Twitter at 2:23 p.m., recorded from the city center towards the Shevchenkivskyi district, show similar explosions.

The NGO has verified that the explosions and the remains of rockets found in the vicinity of the attacks confirm that they were submunitions caused by cluster bombs. In fact, another video posted on Telegram, recorded by a security camera in the Industrialnyi district in the south-east of the country, shows at least 15 consecutive explosions in a residential street that are consistent with submunitions.

A man interviewed by phone by the NGO, who was a kilometer from Balakiryeva Street, where one of the explosions occurred, has sent the organization about thirteen photographs he said he took, showing unexploded submunitions.

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HRW spoke by phone with another man who lives in the Shevchenkivskyi district, close to where the attack took place, an area with at least three kindergartens, three schools and a large hospital. Thus, the man recounted that he was walking with his wife to a store near his house on Balakiryeva Street at around 10:00 on February 28.

“My wife and I went into the basement of an apartment block and about 50 other people were sheltering there,” he said, adding that “the whole building was shaking.” A photograph the man took and sent to Human Rights Watch shows the empty cargo section of a cluster bomb rocket.

The organization has detailed in a statement that it has verified more videos, testimonies and similar photographs showing several streets and districts affected by the bombs, such as the streets of the Shevchenkivskii, Balakirjeva, Serpnya and Klochkivska districts, as well as in the districts of Monkovskii and Obrii.

“The use of inherently indiscriminate weapons in populated areas is prohibited by International Humanitarian Law, the laws that govern the conduct of war. An international treaty bans cluster bombs due to their widespread indiscriminate effect and enduring danger to civilians” , explained the organization in a statement.

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