Kramatorsk attack – cluster ammunition used

Today the city of Kramatorsk and the Ukrainian military headquarter located at the Kramatorsk airport have been hit by rocket strikes that according to Ukrainian government sources were fired from separatist positions in Horlivka which is in roughly 50 km distance. The attacks killed at least seven civilians.

A team of the OSCE witnessed the attack and made a preliminary assessment of the incident. According to the latest OSCE SMM report the missiles were fired from a south-south-east position which could back the theory that they have been fired from or nearby Horlivka or at least from that direction. The team assumes that the missiles have been fired from a BM-30 Smerch or a 9A52-4 Tornado MLRS system.

Worrying – and only mentioned in one sentence of the report – is that the OSCE team found cluster ammunition apparently originating from the projectiles that hit Kramatorsk (as it hasn’t been under attack for a while before today.) The use of cluster ammunition in the conflict has been reported on several occasions with both sides, Kiev and the separatists, blaming each other for the use of it.

Cluster ammunition like the PFM-1 poses a great threat for civilians and especially children who can mistake the bomblets as toys. The use of such a weapon type over civilian area – no matter which side to blame – shows once again how collateral damage among the local civilian population is just accepted or even part of the strategy (blame-game) though the conflict parties are allegedly competing for the “hearts and minds” of the local people.

Explosive devices like the PFM-1 are powerful enough to cripple a person when stepping on it – if they don’t kill the unlucky one triggering it.

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