Russia used cluster bombs in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, according to Human Rights Watch

The Russian army would have used cluster bombs, which make no distinction between military and civilian targets, in Kharkiv (eastern Ukraine), which could constitute a war crime, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization said on Friday.

Russian forces used these weapons “in at least three residential areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, on February 28,” detailed this American human rights organization.

HRW claims to have identified the launch of this type of submunition with a Russian-made 9M55K Smerch rocket launcher.

“Kharkov is constantly under attack from Russian forces, so civilians have to hide in basements to avoid explosions,” said HRW weapons director Steve Goose.

“Using cluster bombs in populated areas shows an absolute disregard for people’s lives.” “Its use, as documented in Kharkov, could constitute a war crime,” considers this organization.

Cluster bombs contain several dozen small bombs that are scattered over a wide perimeter and some of them do not explode at the time of launch, which can lead to them becoming anti-personnel mines.

The Oslo Convention of 2008 (which Moscow did not sign), prohibits its use. “Its massive use in areas inhabited by some armies caused, in the countries involved, disproportionate humanitarian damage,” according to a report by the French Senate.

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