Amnesty International on Monday accused Russia of war crimes in Ukraine, saying hundreds of victims had died in relentless attacks in Kharkiv, many carried out with cluster bombs.
After an investigation, the human rights NGO claims to have found evidence that in seven attacks on neighborhoods in Ukraine’s second city, in the northeast of the country, Russian forces used cluster bombs of the N210 and 9N235 types and cluster mines, two categories prohibited by international treaties.
Titled “Anyone Can Die Anytime”, the report shows how Russian forces have killed and caused immense damage by bombing residential neighborhoods in Kharkiv since the start of the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
“People died in their homes, on the streets, in parks and in cemeteries, when they were lining up to get humanitarian aid or to buy food or medicine,” says Donatella Rovera, a crisis and conflict researcher at Amnesty’s headquarters.
“The repeated use of … prohibited weapons is shocking and shows a real disrespect for the lives of civilians”, he adds.
Although Russia has not signed the convention on cluster munitions or anti-personnel mines, international humanitarian law prohibits attacks and the use of weapons that attack indiscriminately and constitute a war crime, the report highlights.
Ukrainian justice has launched more than 12,000 war crimes investigations since the Russian invasion began, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Amnesty International is investigating 41 bombings that left a total of at least 62 dead and 196 wounded. 160 people were interviewed in Kharkiv in April and May, including attack survivors, relatives of victims and witnesses.