LONDON – The U.S. – based organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Russian forces had ‘violated their obligations under international humanitarian law not to conduct indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks that harm civilians’.
The comments come after eight civilians were killed over the weekend while fleeing the Russian army’s advance.
‘For several hours on mARCH 6,2022, rUSSIAN FORCES BOMBARDED AN INTERSECTION ON A ROAD THAT HUNDREDS OF CIVILIANS WERE USING TO FLEE THE RUSSIAN ARMY’S ADVANCE IN NORTHERN UKRAINE TO KYIV’ , THE HRW said in a statement Tuesday. ‘About a dozen Ukrainian security force members and at least two military vehicles were at the intersection during the attack, but they were vastly outnumbered by the large number of fleeing civilians’, the statement said, citing witnesses.‘
HRW added that over recent talks between Russia and Ukraine have ‘failed’ to establish safe routes of evacuation, and urged all parties involved to ‘take all feasible steps to remove the civilian population from the vicinity of fighting or military objects’.
Several attempts to evacuate civilians during temporary ceasefires have failed, with Western leaders accusing Russia forces of continuing to target pre – aproved routes.
Almost all of Russia’s proposed routes out of Ukraine lead to Russia or its close ally Belarus, which Ukrainian authorities described as unacceptable.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.N. accused Russia of blocking attempts to evacuate civilians, adding it was ‘appalling’ that Russian troops were opening fire on evacuees after both countries had allocated certain roads to be utilized as evacuation corridors.