London, Sep 20 (EFE).- An investigation by the non-profit Center for Information Resilience (CIR) alleges that Russia deliberately targeted Kherson’s medical infrastructure and shelled civilian facilities following the city’s liberation in November of last year.
Between November 11, 2022, and May 18, 2023, Russian forces launched 14 artillery attacks, causing extensive damage to at least seven medical facilities in Kherson.
The CIR, dedicated to exposing human rights abuses and war crimes while countering disinformation through the analysis of satellite images and social networks, published their findings.
“The continuous shelling of hospitals, maternity wards, and rehabilitation centers could pose a risk to the sustainability and operability of the healthcare sector in the city,” the CIR report said, mapping Russian attacks on Kherson’s medical infrastructure.
The non-profit said it “documented and verified a significant intensification of Russia’s shelling of civilian infrastructure in Kherson city after its liberation on November 11, 2022.”
Medical infrastructure in Kherson remained largely intact during Russia’s occupation, which began on March 2, 2022.
However, after losing control of the city, the Russians commenced bombing campaigns targeting maternity wards, cardiology centers, rehabilitation facilities, and children’s hospitals.
“The drastic increase in the number of facilities repetitively damaged post-liberation, alongside the lack of legitimate targets around these facilities, indicates deliberate targeting.”
The first attack, verified by the CIR, occurred approximately six weeks after Ukrainian forces liberated Kherson.
On December 27, 2022, Russian artillery damaged the maternity ward at the Kherson City Clinical Hospital, causing no reported casualties.
The CIR report noted that January 2023 had the highest number of verified attacks in Kherson, with five incidents, followed by three strikes each in December 2022 and February 2023. March witnessed two attacks, one in April, and none in May.
The report drew parallels between Russia’s actions in Kherson and its tactics in Syria, where “punitive strikes” were delivered in rebel-held areas unconnected to any ground operations.
Although the CIR did not have access to ammunition fragments, the report suggested that barreled artillery was used instead of multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS), given the higher accuracy and single-shot nature of the attacks.
“Given the much higher accuracy of barreled artillery and the single-shot nature of these attacks, it appears that at least some of these sites are being deliberately, and repeatedly targeted.”
The report highlighted the recent strengthening of air defenses in Kyiv, suggesting that Russian military planners might have shifted their strategy concerning strategic bombardment.
“The cruelty inflicted on Kherson could well be repeated across many Ukrainian cities without sufficient defenses.”
The only effective mitigation, as indicated by the evidence, was to target firing positions, troops, and munitions stores in occupied territory to the south.
As long as Russian forces could deploy on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River, Kherson would remain vulnerable. EFE