Ukraine train system attacks may be war crimes, experts say

Russian attack on Ukrainian train station More than 20 people have been killed this week, the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s rail system that some international legal scholars say could amount to war crimes..

While Russia claimed on Wednesday that the train was targeted because it was carrying Ukrainian troops and equipment, an Associated Press reporter on the ground said there was no visible indication that Ukrainian troops were among the dead, including children. If civilians were targeted, experts said Thursday, the attack could be considered a war crime.

“A train station is normally a civilian object and should not be the target of an attack,” said Jennifer Trahan, a clinical professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.

Wednesday’s attack in the small town of Chaplin in southeastern Ukraine was the deadliest attack on the country’s extensive rail system in months. More than six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, AP and the PBS series “Frontline” have independently verified more than 40 attacks on civilian infrastructure that could be considered war crimes. Three of them hit the country’s railway infrastructure and seven at local bus stops, killing more than 100 civilians. In these attacks, there is little evidence to support Moscow’s claims that Ukrainian forces were targeted.

The deadly strike came as Ukrainians wildly celebrated their Independence Day on Wednesday While on high alert due to threats that Russia will use the occasion to launch an attack.

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This story is part of an ongoing investigation from The Associated Press and the PBS series “Frontline” in which See War Crimes Ukraine Interactive experience and upcoming documentary.

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More than 50 people, including children, were fleeing Donbas when they were killed in a Russian attack on a railway station in Kramatorsk. in April. Subsequent photos showed bodies and discarded belongings strewn around the station. Trains were crushed and gutted in the fire.

Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council President Mykola Lukashuk told a press conference on Friday that five train cars were set ablaze by the shooting at Chaplin. A family including a 17-year-old girl died when a car hit them while traveling from Donetsk.

“People were being evacuated from Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, and from there a train was going to Lviv,” Lukashuk said.

An 11-year-old boy died under the rubble of a nearby house and a 6-year-old boy died in a car fire near the station, the deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said Thursday.

Tetyana Kvitnytska, deputy head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional health department, told AP that they suffered head injuries, broken limbs, burns and bruises in Wednesday’s attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the UN Security Council that there is no such war crime committed by the Russian occupiers on Ukrainian territory. on wednesday

Russia’s Defense Ministry said an Iskander missile was used to carry out the attack, and 200 reservists “were killed en route to the combat zone.” An AP reporter at the scene said no Ukrainian troops were among the dead.

Even if some members of the military are among the dead, the laws of war may be violated if the attack causes disproportionate civilian casualties.

“If you’re going to kill a small number of troops against a large number of civilians, that’s a war crime,” said Michael Newton, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s law school and director of the International Legal Studies Program.

Iskander missiles are expensive precision-guided missiles and are not used for trivial missions, said Frank Ledwijs, a visiting fellow at the Transatlantic Dialogue Center in Kiev and a former British military intelligence officer.

“Takeaway is a deliberate strike on a civilian target to cause civilian casualties with the aim of disrupting civilian rail transport throughout Ukraine,” he said.

In May, Russia used sea- and air-launched precision missiles Power supply off at five railway stations Mainly in Lviv after claiming to be using rail lines to deliver weapons to western Ukraine.

Railway stations were not the only targets. Dozens of civilians waiting for buses have been killed in similar attacks. The AP counted seven incidents in which civilians waiting for buses were killed. Photos of his dead body lying in a pool of blood were shared on Telegram. A Russian attack on a bus stop in Mykolaiv on July 29 killed five people and injured dozens. Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said on Telegram that Russian forces fired cluster munitions into the crowded square around 10 a.m.

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Editor’s note: AP and “Frontline” are collecting information from organizations including. Center for Information Resilience, BellingcatThe International Partnership on Human RightsTo inform the Ukrainian Healthcare Center and Physicians for Human Rights See War Crimes Ukraine Interactive experience.

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Follow AP’s coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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