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Ukraine shells civilian targets in Donetsk with cluster bombs twice in a day: Report

Firefighters extinguish a fire in the Donetsk University of Economics and Trades which was a target of the Ukrainian shelling on August 5, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Ukrainian armed forces shelled civilian targets, including a university, in the Russian-controlled Donetsk City with banned cluster munitions twice on Saturday, according to a report.

The report by the mission of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of Issues Related to Ukrainian War Crimes (JCCC) said the bombardment was recorded in the Kievsky District.

One bombardment was recorded at 23:45 Moscow time (20:45 GMT) and the one before that was registered at 22:05 Moscow time (19:05 GMT), the report said.

155mm cluster bombs were fired in four rounds into the center of the City, triggering fires in three districts, it added.

Donetsk Mayor Aleksey Kulemzin said in a Telegram post that the Donetsk University of Economics and Trades was a target of the shelling.

“As a result of the latest attack on Donetsk, the first building of the University of Economics and Trade is on fire,” Kulemzin said.

“We are using 12 water tanks, three ladders, and 100 firefighters,” said Alexei Kostrubitsky, Donetsk emergency minister, adding there were no people inside the building during the shelling.

The development comes after a Ukrainian bombardment on Monday which killed at least three people and wounded ten.

Despite a global ban on the use of cluster bombs, the United States supplied the controversial weapons of mass destruction to Ukraine last month.

After receiving the munitions Ukraine pledged to only use them to dislodge concentrations of enemy soldiers.

“[The munition] will not be used on Russian territory...They will be used only in areas where Russian military forces are concentrated in order to break through enemy defenses,” Valeryi Shershen, a spokesman for the Tavria, or southern, military district said at the time. 

Cluster bombs are banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action.

The weapons can contain dozens of smaller bomblets, dispersing over vast areas, often killing and maiming civilians. The CCMs are banned because unexploded bomblets can pose a risk to civilians for years after the fighting is over.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which took effect in 2010, bans all use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster bombs. More than 100 countries have signed the treaty, but the US, Russia, and Ukraine are not among the signatories.

The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.

Ukrainian government forces also used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in October 2014.

Donetsk and other Donbass cities have been under constant Ukrainian attacks since 2014 when the region broke away from Kiev after a Western-backed coup in the Ukrainian capital.

After Moscow began its military operation against Kiev in February 2022, Ukraine intensified its attacks on the area, leaving scores of civilians killed and delivering major damage to infrastructure.

Donetsk became a part of Russia last October along with Lugansk and Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions in a referendum in which the local population voted in favor of the move.




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