Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Mapping Russia's Attacks on Civilians

The NGO Human Rights Watch has investigated Russia's attacks on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, between February 28 and March 5. The results of this investigation have led Human Rights Watch to conclude that Russia has attacked civilian buildings, "including apartment blocks, schools, places of worship, and shops, impeding access to food and medicines. They also damaged infrastructure in the city causing civilians to lose vital services such as electricity, heat, and water".

Under the rule of law armies must take "all feasible precautions" to avoid attacks on civilians and civilian targets. The law prohibits attacks aimed at civilians or civilian targets, the use of indiscriminate attacks and attacks that have disproportionate effects on civilians. In Ukraine: Deadly Attacks Kill, Injure Civilians, Destroy Homes Human Rights Watch presents evidence that Russia's attacks on Kharkiv have used indiscriminate cluster munitions to intentionally target civilian areas. 

The Human Rights Watch report into the attacks on Kharkiv includes an interactive map which plots detailed findings of Russia's illegal bombing campaign in the city. In gathering this evidence Human Rights Watch interviewed eye witnesses, including residents, medical workers, and municipal workers. The organization also analyzed and verified 29 videos and photographs of the attacks to corroborate witness testimony and to identify locations bombed and the damage caused. 

You can explore the evidence on the map by clicking on the numbered map markers or you can simply scroll through the map sidebar. This evidence includes photographs and videos of bombed civilian buildings. 

You can explore evidence of Russia's war crimes elsewhere in Ukraine on Bellingcat's Civilian Harm in Ukraine, an interactive map which locates and records evidence of Russia's attacks on civilians during its invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Civilian Objects Attacks and Casualties Interactive Map is another attempt to track and map Russian attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine.The map consists predominantly of geo-tagged photographs of civilian buildings which have been damaged by Russian bombs. The map also includes a running total of the number of civilians who have been killed and injured by the Russian army in Ukraine.

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