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Documenting war crimes in Ukraine.
The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

270 days of full-scale Russia-Ukraine war in the Kharkiv Region

08.12.2022   
Vladyslav Dolzhko

Цвинтар ракет і снарядів, випущених по Харкову і області за місяці повномасштабної війни. Скріншот з відео Харківської обласної прокуратури

“Cemetery” of rockets and projectiles fired on Kharkiv and the region during the months of the full-scale war. Screenshot from the video by the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office

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 the Kharkiv Region during the first 270 days of the full-scale Russia-Ukraine war (February 24 - November 20, 2022) and were documented by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group in the “T4P” initiative database. You can read more about our organization’s approach to documenting international crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers, in the publication by Yevgeniy Zakharov, the Director of the KHPG.

A detailed description of the events for the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022 and a link to the original sources of information is contained in the daily chronicles of the events for this period.

We also would like to draw your attention to the fact that the information in this publication is approximate, based on the data collected and is constantly updated[1]. Active collection of information continues – the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group asks eyewitnesses to send us information using the attached form.

1. General information about documented incidents

In total, during the period, our organization documented 7,215 incidents in the territory of the Kharkiv Region, of which 4,654 incidents occurred in the first six months, and 2,561 occurred in the next three months of the full-scale Russia-Ukraine war.

Regarding the types of documented events, it is worth noting that the most of recorded incidents were related to shelling or bombing — a total of 4,590 incidents were documented during the reporting period (2,991 incidents in the first 6 months, 1,599 in the next three months of the full-scale war).

Also, there was a relatively significant increase in the number of documented incidents of missing persons — a total of 1,338 incidents and 1,661 missing persons were recorded during the reporting period (278 new incidents involving 279 missing persons were added in the last three months).

It is also worth noting that 156 incidents related to torture or inhuman treatment were recorded during the reporting period, of which 140 incidents were recorded in the last three months.

1.1. Location of documented incidents

Geographically documented incidents can be grouped as follows. In the territory of Kharkiv City for the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, our organization recorded a total of 2,515 incidents that can be preliminarily identified as having signs of international crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers.

The following number of the above-mentioned incidents was documented in the territory of the districts of the Kharkiv Region. The largest number of such cases was recorded in the Izium District of the Kharkiv Region, where it was possible to collect information on at least 1,814 incidents.

A significant amount of information was collected and processed in the territory of the Kharkiv District of the region. According to the result of the analysis of this information, during the reporting period our organization documented 1,349 cases that can be preliminarily qualified as having signs of international crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian invaders.

Also, it is worth noting that 586 incidents were recorded in the Chuhuiv District of the Kharkiv Region, 547 incidents — in the Kup'ians'k District, 345 — in the Bohodukhiv District, 42 — in the Lozova District, 14 — in the Krasnohrad District.

The Map of the Kharkiv Region @Sergii Prytkin

The Map of the Kharkiv Region @Sergii Prytkin

1.2. Information about personal data associated with documented incidents

Much of the information that is subsequently documented by the KHPG in the database is obtained through voluntary personal contacts with direct victims or witnesses of war crimes. With the consent of the person, their story can also be recorded in the form of an interview and published in text on the KHPG website in the section “Voices of War” or in video on the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group YouTube channel.

Focusing in the process of collecting information on specific personalities gives us the opportunity to effectively document data about witnesses and victims of international crimes that can be used in future trials.

In particular, in the territory of the Izium District of the Kharkiv Region, our organization documented information on at least 1,115 individuals, including, in particular, 866 victims of international crimes and 213 deaths of civilians.

Also, in the City of Kharkiv, documentarians and journalists of the KHPG collected information on at least 613 people, including data on 419 people who suffered from international crimes, 105 people who witnessed such crimes, and 90 people who died.

In the Kharkiv District of the region, our organization managed to collect and document data on at least 357 individuals, in the Kup'ians'k District – on at least 193 individuals, in Chuhuiv – 149. The same information was also collected in the Lozova, Krasnohrad, and Bohodukhiv Districts of the Kharkiv Region.

2. Information about victims among the civilian population

During the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group documented information on at least 2,879 incidents involving civilian casualties or violations of human rights.

In general, our documentarians and journalists managed to collect and process information about at least 5,541 people who became victims of war crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian invaders. Among these people, according to our data, at least 144 are children[2].

Our organization has also prepared a special analytical publication devoted to the topic of the illegal forcible transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia. We believe that these acts can be preliminarily qualified as a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide, and we continue to work on the proper documentation of these illegal acts to present the collected information and justify the appropriate legal position within the international criminal investigation procedures.

2.1. Information on deaths of civilians

During the reporting period, our organization documented a total of at least 682 incidents involving the death of civilians, within which information was collected on 1,389 civilian deaths, including at least 61 children.

Based on the geographical criterion, for the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, the largest number of incidents related to the death of civilians was documented in the territory of the Izium District of the Kharkiv Region – a total of 282 cases, within which information on 635 deaths was recorded. Among those incidents at least 26 were related to children.

Also, according to the data that our organization managed to collect so far, we managed to establish information about 161 incidents that took place in the territory of the City of Kharkiv, as a result of which at least 331 civilians died. 160 cases of civilian deaths were documented in the territory of the Kharkiv District (excluding data related to the regional center).

In the territory of the Chuhuiv District of the Kharkiv Region, the KHPG documented 108 deaths of civilians as a result of war; in the Kup'ians'k District – 76 people, including at least 15 children; in the Bohodukhiv District – 62 people; in the Lozova District – 5; in the Krasnohrad District – 2.

2.2. Information on the injured among the civilian population

During the reporting period, the KHPG documented information on at least 595 incidents related to injury or other harm to health, within which the data on 1,643 injured persons, including at least 74 children, was collected.

Правоохоронці надають медичну допомогу пораненому цивільному, село Петропавлівка Куп’янського району, 13 листопада © Національна поліція

Law enforcement officers provide medical aid to an injured civilian, Petropavlivka village, the Kup’ians’k District, November 13 © The National Police of Ukraine

In the territory of the City of Kharkiv, from February 24 to November 20, 2022, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group collected information on 148 incidents involving injury or other harm to the health of civilians, among which at least 632 people were injured, including 18 children.

Information on 294 injured civilians, including at least 19 children, was documented in the territory of the Izium District of the Kharkiv Region.

Data were collected on 256 injured civilians within the Kharkiv District of the region (excluding data related to the regional center), 209 injured in the Chuhuiv District, 150 injured in the Kup'ians'k District, of which at least 19 are children. Also, the KHPG documented information about 72 injured people in the territory of the Bohodukhiv District of the Kharkiv Region, 21 injured people in the Lozova District, and 7 injured people in the Krasnohrad District.

2.3. Information on the disappearance of civilians

During the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, documentarians and journalists of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group managed to record at least 1,387 cases related to the disappearance of civilians.

Among these incidents, information on a total of 1,710 injured persons was recorded. Also, the KHPG employees collected and documented personal data of 1,582 persons who disappeared under circumstances related to war.

The most of incidents related to civilians’ disappearances (at least 654 cases) were documented in the territory of the Izium District of the Kharkiv Region – in total, information on 896 missing persons was collected.

A total of 419 incidents of disappearances were recorded in the territory of the Kharkiv City and the Kharkiv District, within which data on the disappearance of at least 473 persons was documented.

Also, information on 169 missing persons was collected in the Kup'ians'k District of the region, at least on 112 missing persons in the Chuhuiv District, 12 missing persons in the Bohodukhiv and the Lozova Districts each, and 7 persons in the Krasnohrad District.

2.4. Information on rape and other human rights violations

According to the information already documented in our database, during the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, in total, our organization recorded facts of alleged rape of at least eight civilians in the territory of the Kharkiv Region.

We also managed to collect and record in the database information about alleged violations of the rights of at least 795 civilians in the Kharkiv Region. Among those incidents, we documented alleged facts of torture and inhuman treatment, illegal deprivation of liberty, forced mobilization of the population by the Russian military, mass deportation of the civilian population to Russia, appropriation of civilians’ property, and others.

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

During the reporting period, documentarians and journalists of our organization managed to collect information on the destruction or damage of at least 6,271 objects of civil infrastructure as a result of shelling and hostilities in the territory of the Kharkiv Region, including:

Type of objects

Quantity
Residential and Household buildings

3605

Buildings dedicated to education

292

Hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected                               

67

Governmental buildings

66

Buildings dedicated to art and entertainment establishments

70

Buildings dedicated to religion

50

Business and commercial facilities

855

Non-governmental organization

1

Transport infrastructure facilities

213

Life support infrastructure facilities

117

Historic monuments

36

Farmland, forests

53

Bridges
 

17

Cars, vehicles
 

790

Not specified

39

Total

6271

[The Kharkiv Region – Slide 1]

Also, a special analytical article was published on the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group’s website, which is devoted to responsibility for the shelling of energy infrastructure facilities. In the material, the author concludes that most attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure violate international humanitarian law and can be preliminarily qualified as war crimes by the Russian military, and the speeches of the Russian top leadership on this topic can become part of the evidence base for the so-called command responsibility for these specific war crimes.

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

Within this category, various objects and buildings used to meet the residential needs of the population were documented, in particular, private and multi-apartment residential buildings, garages, utility buildings, and others.

The largest number of such objects that were destroyed or damaged as a result of hostilities was recorded by the KHPG in the City of Kharkiv — in total at least 1,344 objects were damaged. The information on 896 damaged or completely destroyed residential buildings and objects was also collected in the territory of the Kharkiv District of the region (excluding data related to the regional center).

Руські Тишки, вулиця Джерельна © Оксана Комарова

Rus’ki Tyshky, Dzherel’na street © Oksana Komarova

In the Bohodukhiv and Izium Districts of the region our documentarians and journalists managed to document the destruction or damage of at least 456 and 424 residential object respectively.

© Оксана Комарова [Коробочкине]

Korobochkine village of the Chuhuiv District © Oksana Komarova

Also, in the territory of the Chuhuiv and Kup'ians'k Districts of the Kharkiv Region during the reporting period, the information on at least 216 and 156 residential buildings that were damaged as a result of hostilities respectively was recorded; in the Lozova District — information in relation to 89 objects; in the Krasnohrad District — in relation to 26 objects.

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

This category contains collected information about various educational facilities, the destruction or damage of which as a result of hostilities was documented by our organization during the reporting period. In particular, this category includes schools, lyceums, gymnasiums, kindergartens, university buildings, scientific institutions and centers, vocational schools and others.

The largest number of destroyed or damaged establishments of this type was recorded in the City of Kharkiv — at least 170 buildings in total. In the territory of the Kharkiv District (excluding data related to the regional center), information was collected on 42 damaged educational facilities.

In the Izium District of the region, the KHPG documented data on at least 35 educational facilities that were destroyed or damaged. Also, in the Bohodukhiv, Chuhuiv and Kup'ians'k Districts, information about damage to 17, 16 and 10 objects respectively was recorded; in the Lozova District – about at least 2 damaged objects.

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

Our organization also documents cases of damage or destruction of medical facilities as a result of hostilities. This category includes damage to adult and children hospitals, polyclinics, emergency medical care centers, health centers, perinatal centers, etc.

The largest number of medical and recreational facilities that were destroyed or damaged as a result of hostilities was recorded by our organization in the City of Kharkiv — in total at least 25 facilities were damaged. In the territory of the Kharkiv District of the region (excluding data related to the regional center) information on 16 damaged health care buildings was also collected.

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

Derhachi hospital, May 13, photo: Derhachi city council

In the territory of the Izium District of the region, the documentarians and journalists of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group managed to collect data on 12 destroyed or damaged medical and recreational facilities. Also, 7 and 6 damaged buildings were documented in the Chuhuiv and Bohodukhiv Districts of the Kharkiv Region respectively; in the Kup'ians'k District — information on at least 1 damaged object was recorded.

Розстріляні у Купянському районі машини “швидкої допомоги”, 19 жовтня © Центр екстреної медичної допомоги та медицини катастроф

Ambulances shot in the Kup’ians’k District, October 19 © Center for Emergency Medical Aid and Disaster Medicine

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

Within this category, information about various objects related to business activity and commercial purposes that were damaged as a result of hostilities was documented, in particular, shops, stores, malls, markets, offices, post offices, car service stations, hotels, and others.

The largest number of destroyed or damaged objects that fall under this category was recorded in the City of Kharkiv – a total of at least 363 buildings. In the territory of the Kharkiv District of the region (excluding data related to the regional center), information on 209 damaged objects of entrepreneurial activity and commercial or industrial purpose was collected.

Also, in the Izium and Kup'ians'k Districts of the Kharkiv Region, documentarians and journalists of our organization managed to record information about damage to 102 and 91 business objects respectively. In the Bohodukhiv and Chuhuiv Districts of the region, the KHPG documented information about the destruction or damage of 42 and 41 objects respectively; in the Lozova District — information on at least 7 damages objects.

3.5. Information on damage or destruction of historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion and art

Our organization documents information about damage or destruction of historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion and art.

Based on the KHPG’s analytical publication, for the period from February 24 to November 15, 2022, at least 33 cases of damage or destruction of historic monuments in the territory of the Kharkiv Region were documented (in the majority of cases, we have already established the unique numerical designation of the damage site as established by national legislation.).

Зруйнований Музей Сковороди, 7 травня 2022 року, фото: телеграм-канал голови Харківської ОВА Олега Синєгубова

The destroyed Hryhoriy Skovoroda Museum, May 7, 2022, photo: Telegram channel of the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration Oleh Syniehubov

Regarding the information about the damage or destruction of buildings intended for religious purposes, from February 24 to November 15, 2022, our organization documented information about at least 51 such cases. In the territory of the City of Kharkiv, 19 incidents related to damage to religious buildings and structures were recorded, and in the territory of the Kharkiv Region (excluding data related to the regional center) — 32 cases.

Also, during the period from February 24 to November 15, 2022, the KHPG documented at least 26 incidents involving damage or destruction of buildings dedicated to art. According to the information recorded by our organization, at least 6 museums, 3 theaters, 2 cinemas, 2 libraries, 6 palaces of culture and the philharmonic hall were damaged in the Kharkiv Region.

A more detailed analysis and conclusions are contained in a special publication of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

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

During the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group managed to collect and document information on at least the following events in the Kharkiv Region:

Type of event

Incidents documented

Artillery shelling (bombardment)

4,618

Small arms fire

86

Explosive device

93

Vehicle damage

1

Torture, inhuman treatment

157

Disappearance

1,420

Illegal imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty

156

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

218

Appropriation of property of civilians

121

Wilful killing of a civilian (murder)

60

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

19

Deportation or forcible transfer of population to Russia

14

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

7

Rape

8

Taking of hostages

1

Employment of chemical weapons

1

Forced conscription

2

Capture of a civilian building

51

Commitment of outrages upon personal dignity

12

Not specified

29

[The Kharkiv Region – Slide 2]

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

According to the information we collected, during the period from February 24 to November 20, 2022, in the territory of the Kharkiv Region our organization documented the following facts, which can be preliminarily qualified as international crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers:

Preliminary qualification of an event

Incidents documented

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

428

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

26

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

2,395

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

1,594

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

85

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

98

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

32

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

15

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

112

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

159

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

16

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

543

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

536

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

7

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

87

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

302

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

8

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

224

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

4

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

154

RS 8 (2) (a) (ii). Use of an inappropriate place for detention

2

RS 8 (2) (b) (xxi). Commitment of outrages upon personal dignity

11

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

72

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

Having analyzed the documented information it can be stated that during the period under study a significant number of events that can be preliminarily qualified as international crimes, allegedly committed by the Russian occupiers, took place.

In particular, the constant analysis and clarification of the entire array of collected data gives us the opportunity to preliminarily qualify the mentioned events as war crimes in accordance with Article 8 paragraph (2) (a) and (2) (b) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as crimes against humanity in accordance with Article 7 paragraph (1) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and as genocide under Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group continues to document, update and research information in order to form, properly present and argue the above-mentioned legal opinions within the framework of international criminal investigation and procedures of international judicial institutions.


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.

[1]The KHPG draws attention to the fact that compilation of the Summary takes a certain amount of time, during which the information in the database is constantly updated and supplemented. In this regard, the information in some sections of this publication may differ or not completely coincide with each other. You can refer to the relevant section of the “T4P” initiative website to obtain “online” information.

[2]Here and further, the information on the number of affected children is additionally revised.

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