The Observers

Video investigation: How civilians were targeted by heavy bombing in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Amateur videos capture parts of rockets lodged in civilian areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Our team mapped out their trajectory.
Amateur videos capture parts of rockets lodged in civilian areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Our team mapped out their trajectory. © Observers

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the eastern city of Kharkiv has been the site of severe bombing. While the Russian Ministry of Defence has claimed since February 27 that it is only hitting strategic military targets, amateur images verified and analysed by the FRANCE 24 Observers team show how the strikes have impacted civilians. In this video investigation, we look at the types of weapons and their trajectory.

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"I don't know what state our building is in, but the neighbourhood is in ruins..."

Maria and Alla had to leave Kharkiv after spending six days in a basement while bombs fell on their neighbourhood. Now, they stay updated on Ukrainian Telegram channels, where every day videos are posted showing residential areas hit by strikes.

More than 150 videos verified by British NGO Centre for Information Resilience showed damage to civilian infrastructure between February 24 and March 22. Why are these strikes causing such extensive damage? Amateur footage has documented the use of cluster munitions, which cause extensive collateral damage. Footage of rocket debris also provides clues about where the weapons may have been launched from.

>> Read more on The Observers: Russian shelling hits Kharkiv city centre

On March 18, Human Rights Watch denounced the deadly attacks on civilians in Kharkiv. According to the organisation, these attacks deprive civilians of access to food and medicine, as well as services such as electricity, heating and water.

>> Read more on The Observers: Civilian buildings in Kharkiv in crosshairs of Russian shelling