Following the end of WWII, the Fourth Geneva Convention established Article 147, which defined a war crime as being the willful killing, torture, or inhumane treatment of an individual, especially innocent civilians and children. Since Russia first invaded Ukraine, there have been numerous accusations that Russian soldiers have been committing war crimes. They have been indiscriminately targeting civilians, having fired upon locations largely occupied by civilians, and have committed other acts that have brought severe harm to the Ukrainian people. One such instance was when Russian soldiers attacked a car park in Kharkiv, where civilians had been clearly seen entering. It is suspected that these soldiers were using cluster bomb strikes, which send out many small explosives over a given area, to damage the car park and to scare out those in hiding so they could be easily captured. Another incident was captured by dashcam footage. A Ukrainian driver passing through Kharkiv was suddenly surrounded by explosions. They made a quick U-turn and managed to escape, but they could have easily been severely injured or even killed. This event is also thought to have been a result of Russian soldiers firing cluster bomb strikes at Ukrainian civilians, despite the fact that there was little to no Ukrainian soldiers in the area.
To the outrage of the international community, Russian forces have also attacked a kindergarten in the city of Okhtyrka. Drone video footage taken in the aftermath captured the areas blackened by explosions, as well as the injured and deceased victims outside of the building. It was determined that three civilians, including a child, were killed in this bombing. The Russians have also been discovered launching missile strikes in eastern Kharkiv, with seemingly little regard for potential civilian casualties. At least 10 civilians have been killed by these airstrikes, but there is plenty of speculation that the death toll far exceeds this number.
Russia continues to deny these accusations, claiming that these stories are being manufactured by the West and are either completely untrue or highly inaccurate. However, the evidence—in the forms of videos, testimonies from those on the ground, and other sources—is as clear as day. It proves the Russians have in fact been targeting civilian areas and, whether or not they are aware, have killed innocent Ukrainian citizens in the crossfire. Tragically, these war crimes will likely continue to be committed until the war is brought to an end, and those who are responsible may possibly never be identified and prosecuted. The world can only hope that this war will soon be brought to its end.