Officials in Kiev and the press office of the Ukrainian National Guard deny use of “Grad” multiple rocket launcher systems and other unconventional weapons in the war in Donetsk and Luhansk, but the results of field research by Human Rights Watch provide a different picture of Ukrainian government forces’ attacks between 12 and 21 July.
The above map was provided by Human Rights Watch, which conducted field research in Donetsk. It should be noted that HRW, with headquarters in the United States, has never been seen to show any loyalty to Russia or Novorossia at all.
Four artillery attacks, documented by Human Rights Watch took place in close proximity to the front lines of government forces and militias. Craters in the ground and damage to buildings, inspected by Human Rights Watch, have characteristic features of rockets, different from the effects of conventional artillery. In all four cases, the angle and shape of craters, as well as damage to the walls of the buildings convincingly point out that the fire was from the government army or pro-government forces side.
The proximity of damage to the front line also makes unlikely, in some cases eliminates altogether, the possibility of shelling by militias. In two cases, both rockets hit areas that included both residential areas and locations of strongholds or roadblocks of militias, which further indicates the attacks by government forces.
July 21: three civilians were killed when missiles hit a residential area near the railway station in Donetsk. Because of the ongoing attack, Human Rights Watch was unable to confirm the victims, but during the whole day they heard sound characteristic of “Grad” volleys.
July 19: at least five rockets exploded in residential areas in the Kuibyshev region in the western part of Donetsk – at least four civilians were wounded.
July 12: Human Rights Watch documented numerous rockets hit residential areas in Petrovsky district on the western outskirts of Donetsk – killed at least seven civilians.
July 12: as a result of multiple hits by rockets on residential areas in the suburban village of Marinka, adjacent to the Petrovsky district, at least six civilians killed.
Human Rights Watch was able to identify the ammunition used as a 122-mm unguided rocket systems “Grad”, a volley can contain up to 40 rockets. Range is from a half kilometer to 20 km. Projectile may be from 1.9 to 3.3 meters in length and weigh 45 to 75 kg.
Typically, the most common missile has a high-explosive fragmentation and incendiary warhead that contains a charge of 6.4 kg and can produce up to 3150 fragments that can injure or kill someone within a roughly 54 thousand square meters impact surface.