MOSCOW, January 29 (Sputnik) — The Ukrainian government forces' use of indiscriminate weapons, such as Grad multiple rocket launchers, in fighting independence supporters in the southeast of the country has resulted in the killing of large numbers of civilians, a Human Rights Watch researcher said Thursday.
"The situation today remains quite tense. The Ukrainian government forces certainly use indiscriminate weapons, including Grad rocket launchers, resulting in huge numbers of civilians dying," Yulia Gorbunova said during a press conference in the Russian capital.
According to Gorbunova, independence militias place their military hardware and infrastructure in residential areas, provoking Kiev to strike back, killing large numbers of local civilians.
Kiev started military action in southeastern Ukraine in mid-April, 2014, in order to suppress the local pro-independence movement. Despite a ceasefire agreement, reached by the warring sides in September, attacks continue. The confrontation has intensified in recent weeks, with repeated shelling, killing dozens of local residents in Donetsk, Mariupol and other cities.
In October, HRW released a report accusing Ukrainian troops of firing cluster munitions, prohibited by a UN treaty, at residential areas. The watchdog said cluster munitions were used in the October 2, 2014 shelling of Donetsk that killed a Red Cross worker.
Last week, the UN High Human Rights Office calculated that over 5,000 people had been killed in fighting in Ukraine since April.