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Half a Year of the Full-Scale War in Kharkiv and the Kharkiv Region

02.09.2022
Vladyslav Dolzhko

Зруйнований гуртожиток на Салтівці, 17 серпня, фото: Кирило Тимошенко A destroyed dormitory building in Saltivka, August 17, photo by Kyrylo Tymoshenko

A destroyed dormitory building in Saltivka, August 17, photo by Kyrylo Tymoshenko

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group documents international crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes) allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers in Kharkiv and Kharkiv Region.

In this article, we publish a summary of the events that took place in Kharkiv and Kharkiv Region during the first 180 days of the full-scale Russia-Ukraine war (February 24 – August 22, 2022) and were documented by our organization. The information in this publication is approximate, based on the data we have collected and needs clarification.

A detailed description of the events for the period from February 24 to August 22, 2022 and a link to the original sources of information is contained in the daily chronicles of the events for this period.

Information collection is ongoing. We ask eyewitnesses to send us information using the attached form.

1. Location of documented episodes

In total, during the study period in Kharkiv Region, our organization documented 4,654 episodes, which can be preliminarily identified as having signs of international crimes allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers.

Kharkiv Region

Location

Episodes documented

Kharkiv city

2,009

Bogodukhiv district

267

Izyum district

1,177

Krasnograd district

7

Kupiansk district

91

Lozova district

37

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

693

Chuguiv district

342

Location needs clarification

31

Total

4,654

2. Information on civilian casualties

During the study period in Kharkiv Region, we recorded a total of 1,930 episodes related to civilian casualties or violation of rights among the civilian population.

Type of casualties or violations

Episodes documented

Number of victims

Death of a civilian person

462

1,036

Injury

367

1,082

Rape

2

2

Violation of rights

39

413

Disappearance

1,060

1,382

Total

1,930

3,915

2.1. Information on deaths of civilians

Батько над тілом загиблого сина після обстрілу Салтівки, 20 липня, фото: В’ячеслав Мавричев, Суспільне Харків A father by the body of his dead son after the shelling of Saltivka, July 20, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne Kharkiv

A father by the body of his dead son after the shelling of Saltivka, July 20, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne Kharkiv

According to the data already documented in our database, 462 episodes of civilian people deaths as a result of shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 1,036 civilians died).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Number of victims

Kharkiv city

117

272

Bogodukhiv district

34

44

Izyum district

199

504

Kupiansk district

4

7

Lozova district

3

3

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

65

131

Chuguiv district

38

66

Location needs clarification

2

9

Total

462

1,036

According to the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, as of August 19, 2022, 53 children died as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in the territory of the Kharkiv Region.

2.2. Information on the injured among the civilian population

According to the data already documented in our database, 367 episodes of civilian people injuries as a result of artillery shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 1,082 civilians were injured).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Number of victims

Kharkiv city

117

516

Bogodukhiv district

37

60

Izyum district

53

154

Krasnograd district

1

4

Kupiansk district

5

6

Lozova district

10

21

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

87

203

Chuguiv district

56

117

Location needs clarification

1

1

Total

367

1,082

According to the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, as of August 19, 2022, 157 children were injured as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in the territory of the Kharkiv Region.

2.3. Information on the disappearance of civilians

According to the information already documented in our database, during the period under study, a total of 1,060 episodes of possible disappearances were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv), within which information on the possible disappearance of at least 1,382 people was recorded.

Location

Episodes documented

Number of victims

Kharkiv city

138

164

Bogodukhiv district

4

4

Izyum district

567

809

Krasnograd district

1

3

Kupiansk district

70

75

Lozova district

9

11

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

167

196

Chuguiv district

83

93

Location needs clarification

21

27

Total

1,060

1,382

As previously noted in the analytical publication of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, most people disappear under unknown circumstances. There is also a pattern: the more active hostilities in the area and the more temporarily occupied territories, the greater the number of reports of disappearances. A more detailed analysis and conclusions are contained in a special publication.

2.4. Information on rape and other human rights violations

According to the information already documented in our database, during the period under study in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) the alleged facts of rape of at least two civilians were recorded.

We also managed to document in our database information on the facts of alleged violations of the rights of at least 413civilians that took place during the study period in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv). We have also documented the alleged facts of forced mobilization of the population by the Russian military, mass deportation of civilians to Russia, torture and others.

3. Information on residential buildings and civilian infrastructure facilities that have been damaged as a result of hostilities

According to the data already documented in our database, during the study period at least 4,240 objects of civil infrastructure were damaged as a result of artillery shelling and hostilities in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv), including:

Type of objects

Quantity

Residential and Household buildings

2,378

Buildings dedicated to education

207

Hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected

49

Governmental buildings

35

Buildings dedicated to art and entertainment establishments

50

Buildings dedicated to religion

36

Business and commercial facilities

463

Non-governmental organization

1

Transport infrastructure facilities

190

Life support infrastructure facilities

85

Historic monuments

34

Farmland, forests

45

Bridges

8

Cars, vehicles

632

Not specified

27

Total

4,240

3.1. Information on residential and household buildings that have been damaged as a result of hostilities

Зруйнований гуртожиток у Слобідському районі, 18 серпня, фото: ДСНС A destroyed dormitory building in the Slobidsky district, August 18, photo by State Emergency Service

A destroyed dormitory building in the Slobidsky district, August 18, photo by State Emergency Service

According to the data already documented in our database, 1,409 episodes of destruction of residential and household buildings as a result of shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 2,378 objects damaged).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Objects damaged

Kharkiv city

844

1,068

Bogodukhiv district

89

402

Izyum district

234

270

Krasnograd district

2

11

Lozova district

7

89

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

158

412

Chuguiv district

74

125

Location needs clarification

1

1

Total

1,409

2,378

3.2. Information on buildings dedicated to education that have been damaged as a result of hostilities

Зруйнований корпус ХПІ, 19 серпня, фото: В’ячеслав Мавричев, Суспільне The destroyed building of the National Technical University Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, August 19, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne

The destroyed building of the National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute", August 19, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne

According to the data already documented in our database, 203 episodes of destruction of buildings dedicated to education as a result of shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 207 objects damaged).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Objects damaged

Kharkiv city

140

141

Bogodukhiv district

11

14

Izyum district

13

13

Lozova district

1

1

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

27

27

Chuguiv district

11

11

Total

203

207

3.3. Information on hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected that have been damaged as a result of hostilities

Дергачівська лікарня, 13 травня, фото: Дергачівська міськрада Derhachi hospital, May 13, photo by Derhachiv city council

Derhachi hospital, May 13, photo by Derhachiv city council

According to the data already documented in our database, 46 episodes of destruction of hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected as a result of shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 49 objects damaged).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Objects damaged

Kharkiv city

23

23

Bogodukhiv district

5

5

Izyum district

8

8

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

9

12

Chuguiv district

1

1

Total

46

49

3.4. Information on business and commercial facilities that have been damaged as a result of hostilities

Зруйнований супермаркет Восторг в Індустріальному районі міста Харкова, 7 червня, фото: В’ячеслав Мавричев, Суспільне The destroyed Vostorg supermarket in the Industrialny district of Kharkiv, June 7, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne

The destroyed "Vostorg" supermarket in the Industrialny district of Kharkiv, June 7, photo by Vyacheslav Mavrychev, Suspilne

According to the data already documented in our database, 388 episodes of destruction of business and commercial facilities as a result of shelling and hostilities were recorded in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv) during the study period (at least 463 facilities damaged).

These data can be organized as follows:

Location

Episodes documented

Objects damaged

Kharkiv city

271

321

Bogodukhiv district

23

34

Izyum district

22

22

Lozova district

4

7

Kharkiv district (data excluding Kharkiv city)

49

55

Chuguiv district

19

24

Total

388

463

4. Information on the types of events that were documented during the study period

According to the data already documented in our database, during the study period there were at least the following events, which took place in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv):

Type of event

Episodes documented

Artillery shelling (bombardment)

2,991

Small arms fire

36

Explosive device

44

Vehicle damage

1

Torture, inhuman treatment

16

Disappearance

1,061

Illegal imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty

18

Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations

65

Appropriation of property of civilians

38

Wilful killing of a civilian (murder)

14

Wilful causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health

3

Deportation or forcible transfer of population to Russia

8

An attack against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance

4

Rape

2

Taking of hostages

1

Forced conscription

2

Capture of a civilian building

2

Not specified

18

5. Information on documented episodes related to the work of humanitarian corridors, convoys and humanitarian aid points

According to the data documented by our organization, during the study period we managed to record at least four episodes related to the capture or attack on a humanitarian convoy, mission or corridor, as well as shelling of humanitarian aid points, which took place in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv).

Розстріляна черга за гуманітарною допомогою, 24 березня, фото: t.me/livekharkov Residents of Kharkiv were killed by Russian shell as they were queuing for humanitarian aid, March 24, photo: t.me/livekharkov

Residents of Kharkiv were killed by Russian shell as they were queuing for humanitarian aid, March 24, photo: t.me/livekharkov

In particular, there were reports of shelling of humanitarian aid points. On March 24, 2022, the shell hit people waiting in line for humanitarian aid at the post office (6 people were killed and 15 were injured). On March 25, 2022, the occupiers fired on the city polyclinic, where the humanitarian aid point was located (4 people were killed and 3 were injured).

It was also reported that on April 14, 2022, Russian armed forces fired on evacuation buses with civilians in the urban-type settlement of Borova, Izyum district. According to preliminary data, 7 people died and 27 were injured.

It was reported that on June 19, 2022, at about 11:30 p.m., Russian armed forces fired rockets at the town of Lyubotyn in Kharkiv district. As a result of two explosions, the school where the humanitarian aid center was located was damaged.

6. Information on documented episodes related to damage caused to fields with agricultural crops and objects of agricultural purpose

During the studied period, 36 episodes of damage to forests, fields or farmlands in the Kharkiv Region were documented in our database. Within these episodes, a total of 45 objects were recorded as damaged.

Since July 1, 2022, we have managed to record 13 episodes of damage to fields with agricultural crops. Within these episodes, the damage was caused to at least 14 separate areas of cultivated fields. In most episodes, the field with agricultural crops caught fire due to shelling and burned down in a certain area.

According to the data of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration with reference to the information of the Main Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Kharkiv Region, since July 3, there have been 7 cases of field fires in the Kharkiv Region as a result of enemy shelling. More than 46.6 hectares of wheat and 2 hectares of barley burned in the Izyumand Chuguivdistricts.

Suspilne also reported that on July 19, the Russian occupation army fired at a harvester working in the field of the Zolochiv community. The head of the community, Viktor Kovalenko, told Suspilne about this. “A combine harvester left near the village of Ivashki to mow bread, it was hit by a helicopter. The harvester boys ran away from there, the harvester did not sustain significant damage, but the field burned down. There was somewhere around 150 hectares,” Kovalenko told Suspilne.

7. Information on documented facts that can be preliminarily qualified as international crimes allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers

During the study period we documented the following facts, which can be preliminarily qualified as international crimes, probably committed by the Russian occupiers in Kharkiv Region (including Kharkiv):

Preliminary qualification of an event

Episodes documented

RS 8 (2) (b) (ix) Damage or destruction of historical monuments, hospitals, religious buildings, education, science and art institutions

342

RS 8 (2) (b) (v) Shelling of a settlement without consequences

23

RS 8 (2) (b) (ii) Attack on a civilian object

1,751

RS 8 (2) (b) (iv) Destruction or damage to property

810

RS 8 (2) (a) (iv) Extensive destruction or appropriation of property

49

RS 7 (1) (а) or 8 (2) (а) (i) Wilful killing of a civilian by a firearm or another weapon

37

RS 8 (2) (а) (ііі) Wilful causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health

11

RS 7 (1) (d) or 8 (2) (а) (vii) or 8 (2) (b) (viii) Deportation or forcible transfer of population to Russia

7

RS 7 (1) (i) Enforced disappearance of a person

87

RS 7 (1) (f) or 8 (2) (а) (іі) Torture or inhuman treatment of civilians or military

17

RS 8 (2) (a) (viii) Taking of hostages

1

RS 8 (2) (b) (iii) An attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance

13

RS 8 (2) (b) (iv) Death of a civilian person due to shelling

405

RS 8 (2) (b) (iv) Injury of a civilian person due to shelling

335

RS 8 (2) (b) (iv) Damage to the natural environment due to shelling

3

RS 8 (2) (b) (xvi) Pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault

26

RS 8 (2) (b) (xx) Employing weapons or methods of warfare that cause superfluous damage or indiscriminate suffering of people, or causes indiscriminate destruction, or is prohibited by international agreements

256

RS 8 (2) (b) (xxii) Rape

2

RS 8 (2) (b) (xxiii) Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations

64

RS 8 (2) (b) (xxv) Obstructing humanitarian missions in providing food or water, destruction of supplies of food or drinking water

4

RS 8 (2) (b) (xvii) or 8 (2) (b) (xviii) Use of chemical or other poisonous weapons, including phosphorus bombs

3

RS 7 (1) (е) Illegal imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty

13

RS 8 (2) (a) (v) Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power

2

RS 8 (2) (b) (xx) Mining of territories, settlements or civilian objects with anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, trap mines, as well as the use of remote mining systems

35

RS 8 (2) (b) (vii) Making improper use of the flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy

2

These data require clarification. The category names in the “Preliminary qualification of an event” column is in no case an accurate description of an international crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and is provided for information purposes only. Only the court is authorized to provide the final qualification of the event.

Conclusions

The analysis of the collected information provides grounds to claim that there were deaths and injuries of civilian people, destruction and damage of civilian objects – residential buildings and civilian infrastructure facilities—due to wilful and indiscriminate shelling.

The studieddata also provides reasons to claim alleged incidents of killings, looting, enforced disappearances, captures of civilians, violations of humanitarian corridors and attacks on humanitarian aid supplies, convoys and volunteers, and others.

In our opinion,such acts can be pre-qualified as crimes against humanity under Article 7 para. (1) (а), (d), (е), (f), (i) and as war crimes under Article 8 para. (2) (a) (i), (іі), (ііі), (iv), (v), (vii), (viii), (b) (ii), (iii), (iv), (v), (vii), (viii), (ix), (xvi), (xvii), (xviii), (xx), (xxii), (xxiii), (xxv).

Information collection is ongoing. If you can provide additional information, please use the form.

The author is grateful to the whole KHPG team, without the joint coordinated and dedicated work of which this summary would be impossible.

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