On February 3, the Russian channel LifeNews published an article on its site, entitled “HRW Reports on UMF Involvement in the Attack on Donestk Trolley.” The LifeNews article claims that a Human Rights Watch [HRW] report implicates the Ukrainian army in the of murder civilians in Donbas – and specifically in the shelling of a trolley on January 22 in Donetsk.
The HRW report, however, makes no such claim. Representatives of HRW did not arrive on the spot of the shelling in Donetsk until two days after the incident took place, and then only to find that the craters from the shelling had already been backfilled, significantly hindering their investigation. Also, HRW noted “the rebel base” 500 meters from the firing, which presumably could be a target.
Based on the analysis of craters and photos, HRW concluded the following (in Russian): “Photographs and remnants of craters suggest, however, that the territory could be fired upon from mortars with a maximum range of about 7 km from the north-western direction, probably placed on a launch pad on the rebels-controlled territory. Based on the fact that some firing came from the rebel-controlled territory, HRW was not able to draw any conclusions about who was responsible for the shooting.”
HRW also reported: “Despite the fact that HRW conducted the investigation on the place of the attack, Human Rights Watch could not identify those responsible for the third big incident – an attack in Donetsk on January 22 that killed 13 civilians, according to local representatives. Numerous reports of additional deaths from the government and the rebel-controlled territory, especially in the period from January 13, have not been investigated by HRW.”
Therefore, LifeNews’s claim about HRW specifically implicating Ukrainian soldiers in the attack on the trolley is false.