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Russia has evidence phosphorus bombs used against civilians in southeast Ukraine

August 06, 2014, 13:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Ground samples had been handed over by eyewitnesses of shelling in the settlement of Semenovka and the city of Sloviansk as they fled from Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, August 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian detectives say they have proof that phosphorus bombs were used against civilians in southeast Ukraine.

"Irrefutable evidence" existed that banned weapons were used against civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Vladimir Markin, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman, told ITAR-TASS.

Ground samples had been handed over by eyewitnesses of shelling in the settlement of Semenovka and the city of Sloviansk as they fled from Ukraine, Markin said, adding that samples contained "combustion products of incendiary H-17 which mines and aviation bombs contain".

This was "an upgraded and more deadly variant" of white phosphorous and was impossible to extinguish, he said, noting it caused great suffering and a painful death. Specialist treatment was needed to care for the victims.

Use of such weapons contradicted international law, Markin added, notably Protocol 3 to the United Nations Convention on Prohibition or Restrictions on Use of Conventional Weapons and the August 1949 Geneva Convention on Protection of Civil Persons in the Time of War.

“Detectives are looking for specific people among Ukrainian law enforcers involved in this crime," the official said. "Russia's Investigative Committee intends to bring them to criminal responsibility according to Russian legislation.”

Case material could also be sent to international legal agencies, as in the case of crimes committed by Georgian servicemen against civilians during the South Caucasus South Ossetia conflict in 2008, Markin said.

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