What are flechettes and are they evidence of Russian war crimes?

Civilians who died during the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian city of Bucha were killed by small metal darts fired from artillery, coroners said.

Known as flechettes, The guard said the arrow-shaped weapons were found “embedded in people’s heads and chests” by pathologists and coroners who perform post-mortem examinations on the bodies found Mass graves in the region north of Kyiv.

“We found several really thin, nail-like objects in the bodies of men and women, as did others of my colleagues in the region,” Vladyslav Pirovskyi, a Ukrainian coroner, told the newspaper. “It’s very hard to find those in the body, they’re too thin. The majority of these bodies come from the Bucha-Irpin region.”

“anti-personnel weapon”

Independent experts who reviewed images of the arrows recovered from bodies in Bucha confirmed to The Guardian that this is the case flechettesFrench for “little darts”, an “anti-personnel weapon” used extensively in World War I.

The “metal darts are contained in armor or field gun casings,” each of which “can contain up to 8,000 flechettes‘ reported the newspaper. “Once fired, grenades burst when a timed fuse detonates and explodes above the ground,” the arrows spray in all directions.

The area covered by a single shell can be “three soccer fields” wide. The Washington Post called. The grenades are “primed to explode over infantry formations and spew projectiles in a conical pattern.”

Corresponding The economist, flechettes were “invented in Italy in the early 1900s and adopted by all sides” during World War I. The darts “were usually 12 cm long with fins for stability and were dropped from airplanes in canisters of tens or hundreds”.

“America then developed a new, deadlier generation in the 1950s in a program codenamed Lazy Dog,” the newspaper continued. The new and improved weapon “hit with the force of a bullet” and “had a good chance of killing everyone in the area.”

The USA deployed this new generation of flechettes during the Vietnam War, where “cruel” and “apocryphal tales were told of victims nailed to trees.”

They are now “rarely used in modern warfare, except periodically by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF),” The Guardian said. The IDF has “used them in military operations in Lebanon and Gaza, killing and wounding civilians.”

Its use made headlines in March 2008 when Fadel Shana, a Palestinian journalist with Reuters, was killed flechettes fired from an Israeli tank.

Svitlana Chmut, a Bucha resident, told the Washington Post that she found several flechettes nailed to her car after the Russian invasion. “If you look closely at the soil around my house, you’ll find a lot more of it,” she said.

war crimes

“Human rights groups have long called for a ban Flechette Shells,” The Guardian said, but she “are not prohibited under international law“. However, “the use of imprecise lethal weapons in densely populated civilian areas is a violation of international humanitarian law”.

A spokesman for Amnesty International said the weapons “should never be used in built-up civilian areas”, while Neil Gibson, a weapons expert with the UK-based Fenix ​​Insight group, told the newspaper that it was an “unusual and rare seen projectile” acts “.

Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said: “You don’t need to be a weapons expert to understand that Russia is ignoring the rules of war in Bucha. Bucha was turned into a Chechen safari where they used land mines against civilians.”

They “kill and maim indiscriminately,” The Economist said, raising the question of how Russia would justify their use in a densely populated area.

Moscow “may have issued a small number of Flechette rounds for defensive purposes”, although it “another possible goal was simply to terrorize“. What are flechettes and are they evidence of Russian war crimes?

Fry Electronics Team

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