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Russia, Ukraine Should Join International Ban Treaty

Russian armed forces have used at least six types of cluster munitions in attacks in Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces also appear to have used them at least once. Cluster munitions spread multiple explosive submunitions or bomblets over a wide area…
202205arms_ukraine_clustermunition
News
Antivehicle landmines (also called anti-tank mines) have been used in many contemporary conflicts, including currently by Russian and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine. They are designed to damage or destroy vehicles including tanks and armored fighting…
Destroyed vehicle in Bucha, Ukraine with the word “mines” in Russian, April 4, 2022.
News

Landmines Threaten Civilian Lives, Prolong Recovery

(Berlin, March 29, 2022) – Russian forces fighting in Ukraine have used banned antipersonnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region, Human Rights Watch said today.  The antipersonnel mines were located by Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal…
POM-3 antipersonnel mines that failed to deploy and remnants of its delivery canister found by deminers in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine on or around March 28.
News

Cluster Munitions Used, Vacuum Bombs Spotted in Ukraine

As the war in Ukraine continues, Human Rights Watch has been busy investigating what’s happening on the ground – including scrutinizing the weapons being used in the conflict. Under the laws of war, parties to the conflict must do everything feasible to…
An apartment building explodes
News

Residents Describe Harsh Conditions During Russian Attack

Thirty-two civilians who managed to escape southeastern Ukraine’s besieged city of Mariupol last week told Human Rights Watch how they struggled to survive in below-freezing temperatures as Russian forces relentlessly attacked the city. They described…
A woman and her family try to get a signal over medium wave radio
News
Incendiary weapons are among the cruelest weapons used in contemporary armed conflict. These weapons, which produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance, cause immediate and lifelong human suffering in addition to…
Remnants of a misfired 9M22S incendiary 122mm Grad rocket
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Civilians Killed, Injured in Multiple Attacks That May Amount to War Crimes

(Berlin) – Russian forces repeatedly fired cluster munition rockets into the densely populated city of Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, during separate attacks on March 7, 11, and 13, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. An attack on March 13…
News

Serious Concerns for Civilians Remaining in the City

Update: Local officials in Mariupol reported on March 25, 2022, that about 300 people died during the March 16 attack on the theater. Human Rights Watch has not been able to verify the casualty figures. A mother and son who sheltered in the theater…
Satellite image recorded on March 14
News

Written Testimony by Bonnie Docherty Before The House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment and Cyber

"Chair Keating, Ranking Member Fitzpatrick, and Members of the Committee. Thank you for inviting me to participate in this hearing today. I would like to highlight two types of weapons that Russian forces are using widely and with devastating effects…
Smoke rises after shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 4, 2022.
News
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Johnson is certainly right that Ukrainian civilians are being killed by indiscriminate attacks, but will anyone end up in the dock? The…
A residential building in Chernihiv, Ukraine damaged by Russian aerial attack on March 3, 2022.
News

Dozens Killed and Wounded in Apparent War Crime in Chernihiv

Russian aircraft dropped multiple unguided bombs simultaneously on March 3, 2022, that hit an intersection in a residential neighborhood of Chernihiv, a city in northeastern Ukraine, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack, at about 12:15 p.m.…
A residential building in Chernihiv, Ukraine damaged by Russian aerial attack on March 3, 2022.
News

Thousands Arrested on March 6; Protesters Abused in Detention

Update: On March 13, police detained, at times brutally, more than 850 people allegedly for participation in peaceful anti-war protests. On March 15, the mayor of Moscow, where the majority of people were detained, lifted all major…
Police officers detain a protester in Manezhnaya Square, Moscow, Russia on March 6, 2022.
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Continuous Shelling of Evacuation Route Suggests Laws of War Violations

For several hours on March 6, 2022, Russian forces bombarded an intersection on a road that hundreds of civilians were using to flee the Russian army’s advance in northern Ukraine to Kyiv, Human Rights Watch said today. The repeated nature of the…
Ukrainian soldiers help a woman in the town of Irpin, Ukraine on March 6.
News

Facilitate Civilians’ Access to Safety; Urgently Restore Water, Electricity

Civilians in Ukraine’s southeastern coastal city of Mariupol have not had access to running water, electricity, or heat since March 2, 2022 when Russian forces surrounded the city, as part of a larger offensive, Human Rights Watch said today. Acute…
Smoke rises after shelling by Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 4, 2022.
News

Backgrounder

Several types of enhanced blast weapons can be seen in photos and videos of Russian forces in Ukraine. Some of these weapons also appear to have been captured by Ukrainian forces. Enhanced blast weapons have been used in many contemporary conflicts,…
Russian TOS-1A multi-barrel rocket launchers photographed on exercises in 2021.  These weapons can rapidly launch a volley of 24 MO.1.01.04-series rockets with thermobaric warheads up to 6-8 kilometers away.
News

Russian Forces’ Indiscriminate Attacks May Amount to War Crimes

Russian forces fired cluster munitions into at least three residential areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, on February 28, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. These attacks killed at least three civilians. Interviews with 2 witnesses…
Cluster munitions attacks in Kharkiv on February 28, 2022.
News

4 Civilians Killed, 10 Wounded

(Berlin) – A Russian ballistic missile carrying a cluster munition struck just outside a hospital in Vuhledar, a town in the Ukrainian government-controlled Donetska region, on February 24, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack killed four…
Damage from a cluster munition attack outside the Central City Hospital in Vuhledar.
News

UN Report Shows Transfers of Banned Landmines in Conflict

Buried in a new report by the United Nations Panel of Experts on Libya comes disturbing news about recent transfers of internationally banned antipersonnel landmines. The report shows that antipersonnel mines manufactured in Russia were likely brought…
PMN-2 blast mines recovered from Tripoli, Libya, December 2020. 
Report
Summary In April 2019, the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, launched a major military offensive to retake Idlib governorate and surrounding areas in northwest Syria— one of the last areas controlled by anti-government armed groups. Over the…
News

Unlawful Attacks on Hospitals, Schools, Markets Forced Idlib Population Out

The Syrian and Russian armed forces’ repeated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Idlib in northwest Syria were apparent war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Dozens of unlawful air…
A woman in a black niqab and face mask walks through a deserted street with a child
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