Bombing of Kramatorsk station: HRW accuses the Russian army of “war crime”

Bombing of Kramatorsk train station: HRW accuses Russian army of “crime of war»


The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday accused the Russian army of a “war crime” in the missile attack on the train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, who in April 2022 killed around 60 civilians seeking to flee the region. 

“The evidence clearly indicates that the missile that killed and injured civilians at Kramatorsk railway station was launched from Russian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. This attack constitutes a violation of the laws of war and an apparent war crime,” writes HRW in this investigation, carried out with the visual investigation agency SITU Research.

The NGO adds that it has identified as “possible place of launching of the attack” the village of Kounié, in the region of Kharkiv, then under Russian control.

On April 8, 2022 shortly before 10:30 a.m., as thousands of civilians rushed to flee the region threatened by a major offensive by Russian troops, a Tochka-U missile equipped with cluster bombs hit the Kramatorsk train station , the main evacuation center in the region.

Sixty-one people were killed and more than 160 injured, according to the report of the town hall of Kramatorsk, HRW arriving for its part at the figure of at least 58 civilians killed.

HRW investigated in Kramatorsk from May 14-24, 2022, interviewing witnesses and victims of the attack and analyzing “more than 200 photos and videos”. The NGO also went to Kounié on January 10 and 11, after its liberation by the Ukrainian army, where it spoke with about fifteen inhabitants.

Moscow denied being in origin of the attack, accusing Kyiv of having fired on the station to disrupt evacuations, but HRW says it has found “no evidence to support the Russian claims”.

“On the contrary, everything indicates that the Russian forces fired the Tochka-U missile at the Kramatorsk station”, writes the NGO, which says it has identified “several places where the Russian forces apparently deployed Tochka-U missile systems in Ukraine” since the beginning of the war.

The most credible, according to Human Rights Watch, is the village of Kounié. Satellite photos taken in April show in particular “several large rectangular containers” whose shape, size and color correspond to those of Tochka-U missiles.

According to residents, there was also “significant Russian military activity in and around the village at the beginning of April, including the firing of ammunition”.

During his visit to the locality, four months after his release, the NGO found fragments of Tochka-U missiles and “multiple unexploded submunitions”, according to it resulting from missed shots.

“This evidence clearly indicates that Russian forces had launch vehicles (…) and Tochka-U missiles around the village of Kunye around the time of the attack on Kramatorsk, and that Russian forces regularly launched attacks during this time” , writes HRW.

“Russia's attack on the crowded Kramatorsk station was illegally indiscriminate,” concludes HRW, which says the station was not a valid military objective and that “commanders and Russian military personnel who ordered and carried out the attack committed a war crime.”< /p>