'Anyone can die at any time': Indiscriminate attacks by Russian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine - Ukraine
Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv by indiscriminate Russian shelling using widely banned cluster munitions and inherently inaccurate rockets, Amnesty International said today. 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 in late February. During an extensive investigation, Amnesty International 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. “People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine. “The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives. The director of the Medical Department at the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration told Amnesty International that 606 civilians had been killed and 1,248 injured in the Kharkiv region since the conflict began. 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. The people of Kharkiv have faced a relentless barrage of indiscriminate attacks in recent months, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians On the afternoon of 15 April, Russian forces fired cluster munitions in and around Myru Street, in the Industrialni neighbourhood. Tetiana Ahayeva, a 53-year-old nurse, was standing by the entrance of her building when several cluster bombs exploded.
In a nearby playground, Oksana Litvynyenko, 41, suffered devastating injuries when several cluster munitions exploded while she was walking with her husband Ivan and their four-year-old daughter. Ivan told Amnesty International on 26 April: “All of a sudden, I saw a flash… I grabbed my daughter and pushed her against the tree and hugged the tree, so that she was protected between the tree and my body. After more than one month in intensive care, Oksana’s condition had improved slightly, but she died from her injuries on 11 June. All of a sudden, I saw a flash… I grabbed my daughter and pushed her against the tree and hugged the tree, so that she was protected between the tree and my body At least six people were killed and 15 were injured on the morning of 24 March, when cluster munitions struck a parking lot near the Akademika Pavlova metro station where hundreds of people were queuing for humanitarian aid. Valeriia Kolyshkina, a sales assistant in a pet shop close to the scene of the strike, said that one man was killed when the explosions destroyed the glass front of a nearby store. She told Amnesty International: “A man was killed just outside the shop. Ruslan*, a local policeman who witnessed the attack, said: “It was really a horrible situation, shrapnel was falling like rain. Amnesty International researchers found parts of a 220mm Uragan rocket, which carries 30 submunitions, still embedded in a crater in the tarmac. Two other cluster munitions also hit the roof of the Holy Trinity Church, approximately 500 metres from where the rocket landed. Valeriia Kolyshkina, a sales assistant in a pet shop close to the scene of the strike.
On the afternoon of 12 March, Veronica Cherevychko, a 30-year-old logistics manager and mother, lost her right leg when a Grad rocket struck a playground in front of her home in the Saltivka neighbourhood. She told Amnesty International: “I was sitting on this bench when the explosion happened. Three people were killed and six injured when a series of cluster munitions exploded in the same neighbourhood on the morning of 26 April. Olena blacked out, then woke up in an ambulance and realized that she had lost a leg. Unguided rockets – such as Grads and Uragans, which have been routinely used by Russian forces – are inherently inaccurate, making them indiscriminate when used in populated areas. Ukrainian forces, for their part, often launched strikes from residential neighbourhoods, endangering civilians in those areas. I don’t know what to say about [the] people who did it. Veronica Cherevychko, a 30-year-old logistics manager who lost her right leg. Amnesty International researchers investigated 41 strikes (which killed at least 62 people and injured at least 196) and interviewed 160 people in Kharkiv over 14 days in April and May, including survivors of attacks, relatives of victims, witnesses, and doctors who treated the injured. All of Amnesty International’s ongoing documentation of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed during the war in Ukraine is available here.
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