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Ukrainian presidential aide refrains from comments of Human Rights Watch report

October 21, 2014, 17:21 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday
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© Alexei Slavny/TASS

KIEV, October 21. /TASS/. Deputy chief of Ukraine’s Presidential Administration staff Valeriy Chaly on Tuesday refrained from making direct comments on a report by Human Rights Watch that stated the Ukrainian Armed Forces used cluster munitions by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the east of the country.

A reporter who asked the question about the HRW accusations at a news briefing at the Ukrainian crisis media center said that the charges had been made “by an organization that does not enjoy the Kremlin’s support.” “I’m not ready to answer this question because I don’t have the necessary information,” Chaly said. He claimed somewhat later that the Ukrainian side was unable to conduct an investigation as the area mentioned in the HRW report was controlled by the east Ukrainian self-defence forces.

Minutes later, the same question was asked to Andriy Lysenko, the official spokesman for the country’s National Security and Defense Council. He claimed the Ukrainian troops had never used any prohibited munitions in the east of Ukraine since the start of the military operation there.

“This concerns cluster munitions in an equal measure,” Lysenko said, urging international organizations “to provide evidence of charges of this sort” and he promised to hold “technical and ballistic trials in this case.”

Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, adding that use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.

HRW indicated that an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross was killed on October 2 in an attack on the city of Donetsk that included the use of cluster munition rockets.

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