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Cluster Bomb Kills Ukrainian Child and Two Others at Kindergarten, Amnesty International Says

Smoke rising Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 27, 2022 / Reuters
• March 1, 2022 11:55 am

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Cluster munitions apparently launched by Russian forces hit a Ukrainian kindergarten on Friday, killing one child and two other civilians, according to Amnesty International.

The human rights group on Sunday reported the attack, which wounded one other child, saying that Russia has a "shameful record of using cluster munitions in populated areas." Human Rights Watch also confirmed the strike on the Sonechko nursery and kindergarten in Okhtyrka. The attack is potentially a war crime.

"There is no possible justification for dropping cluster munitions in populated areas, let alone near a school," said Agnès Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International. "This attack bears all the hallmarks of Russia's use of this inherently indiscriminate and internationally banned weapon, and shows flagrant disregard for civilian life."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday confirmed the use of the munitions but did not say whether Russia had launched them. The Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to Amnesty International's requests for comment.

The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which Russia and Ukraine did not join, prohibits "the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, and transfer of cluster munitions." The weapons are "inherently indiscriminate" and "scatter munitions over a wide area," according to Amnesty International.

This is the fourth recorded attack on a school during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. None of the previous strikes killed civilians. Educational facilities are protected under international humanitarian law "as long as they are not used for military purposes."

Published under: Russia, Ukraine Invasion