No Evidence of Cluster Munition Use in Ukraine, OSCE Says

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors Ukraine’s military conflict zone, said there is no evidence that government troops used cluster bombs, contradicting a Human Rights Watch report.

“We have not seen so far any evidence of cluster bombs,” Michael Bociurkiw, the OSCE’s spokesman, said by phone. “We have around 100 monitors, they are covering a very wide territory. If we see something, we will report it but all of our reporting is based on verified facts.”

Human Rights Watch accused Ukrainian government forces of using cluster bombs this month in Donetsk, the largest city in the country’s easternmost region, where the troops are battling pro-Russian rebels. While a cease-fire was announced on Sept. 5, clashes continue, raising the number of casualties to more than 3,500 people.

During a week-long investigation, Human Rights Watch said it documented 12 incidents of cluster munitions killing at least 6 people, including a Swiss employee of the International Red Cross, according to the Oct. 20 statement.

Ukraine has denied the accusations. Government forces are focusing on keeping hold of Donetsk Airport, the target of daily rebel attacks, and are “not even able to shell Donetsk with any weapon,” Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the country’s military, said by phone yesterday. He blamed the insurgents for residential areas coming under attack and urged an investigation.

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