Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

RUK045

Incident date

March 9, 2022

Location

вулиця Первомайська, 2, Ізюм, Харківська область, , 2, Pershotravneya Street, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Geolocation

49.198416, 37.278056 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

On March 9th, in the morning, at 9 am, the Russian military allegedly launched airstrikes and then shelled a five story building at 2 Pershotravneya Street in Izyum from a tank on the opposite side until it collapsed. The attack killed between 44 to 54 people, many families, who were trapped under the debris of the house. At least two of the witnesses who provided testimony were injured, but it is unclear how many others were injured. The only survivors were those who had not been able to go down to the basement. There are conflicting accounts of when rescue missions were permitted or able to commence but they may have started as early as late March as per Human Rights Watch and as late as September of 2022.

Fakty.ua News reported a one survivor’s account of the incident, who saw his family die.  “Everyone had breakfast together, after which my three-year-old granddaughter asked: “Grandpa, please give me some tea.” I took the thermos and went out on the landing. The wife said: ” I’m coming with you.” But she did not have time to leave. There was an explosion. I was thrown back by the blast wave and I don’t know how long I was unconscious – maybe half an hour or so. When he came to, he saw that he was stuck up to his waist in a metal ladder that he had once welded himself. My feet were crushed by concrete blocks. I somehow managed to pull one out immediately, and the other was pressed down, it seemed, tightly. I was saved by a book that got stuck between my leg and a concrete slab. And the fact that water began to flow from the boiler on one of the upper floors. The book got wet quickly, I was able to pull it out, and then pulled out my leg. Then he tried to crawl through the concrete block for a long time and still managed to do it. When I saw what happened to the basement where my family was, I immediately understood everything. There was no hope left – everything there was covered with concrete slabs. I called my wife several times. No sound in response. I couldn’t believe it actually happened. That they died. That there is no wife, no children, no grandchildren – no one… It seemed that this could not be true, that this was some kind of terrible dream. I called for help. At my cry, one person came, but when the slabs started to fall again from above, he quickly left. I got outside. In two sports pants, in two sweaters and barefoot. Minus 10 outside… I spent the next three days at a neighbor’s country house. Due to the fact that it was cold there and I had to sleep almost outside, I caught a cold in my kidneys. But all this was no longer important” [Quote edited to protect anonymity of survivor]. The bodies were pulled from the rubble on April 12th.

Another survivor speaking to Fakty, had moved back to the building to live with his mother. He was heating broth when the building was hit. His mother and him “began to fall down, but he somehow managed to hold on and pulled his mother out. They survived, and his mother is now the only one living in the surviving part of our destroyed house. In another apartment, a man who was in the bathroom at the time of the explosion survived. His wife, who was in the room, died.”

Four generations of family were killed including between at least three to five children. People who initially survived for the first few days were unable to access assistance and testimonies ascribe this to Russians preventing any rescue efforts. Sources reported that one 71 year old woman whose son and his family lived in the building, walked 7 miles to the site daily, to search for them but Russian military obstructed her efforts. When Emergency Services eventually mounted the rescue, and pulled out bodies, the women recalled to Hromadske News that “You couldn’t recognize anything there. One corpse was headless, face burned. No one had a face at all. One of the 45 people whose face has survived is my son. It was thrown under the pipes by an explosive wave.” Hromadske and Zn.Ua reported that the dead were identified by any personal belongings on the bodies that had survived the incident or DNA testing. The survivor who spoke to Fakty corroborated this account. He said “We know for sure that 52 people were trapped under the rubble. But we never found seven of them. Many of those who were found could not be identified. We recognized people by phone numbers — if we found a phone nearby, rearranged the SIM card, called neighbors, the number was determined — and we found out what kind of person it was. I recognized one woman by the keys I found in her possession – I found the door to which they fit, and realized that she was our neighbor”. Another neighbour was identified by their passport.

Anticor-kharkiv news published testimonies of neighbours who, hiding from their houses, witnessed artillery, shooting and airstrikes being used in concert in the incident.  “They shot into the middle of the house. This is what I was told by direct witnesses who were saved and residents of the street. Zamostyanskoi, on which the tanks stood”. Although Ukranian military had been in the area in the days around when the incident took place, people speaking to Anticor-Kharkiv confirmed on March 9th that there were neither Ukrainian military equipment in or near the building, nor were there soldiers in the area. Human Rights Watch corroborated this information in a report “witnesses who were in the basement or lower floors said they had not seen Ukrainian forces in or directly around the building just before or at the time of the attack. One local resident who had been in the basement, said others there saw Ukrainian soldiers come into the basement days earlier and ask the building manager for keys to the attic to check it.”

Media quoted Ukranian sources verifying the accuracy of the lists of the dead that the Russians published lists.

The incident occured between 7:00 am and 9:00 am local time.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention block number 2 on Pershotravneya Street (вулиця Первомайська), located in Izium (Ізюм). According to research conducted by Human Rights Watch, the exact coordinates for this strike are: 49.198416, 37.278056. Cross referencing source material, we can confirm the accuracy of this location.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    44 – 54
  • (3–6 children9 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (19) [ collapse]

  • Hromadske.ua news
  • Mass Graves. Source: Pravda.
  • Debris from the collapsed building. Source: Life pravda news
  • Destroyed 5 story building
    Source: Life.pravda news
  • Mariyka Zhikharyova and niece Lesya Stolpakova
    Source_https://www.facebook.com/russiakills.in.ua/posts/pfbid03PcNxc2ymVYZ9sYrUjwDwicqvV3Mxw7RPGDkCCAvUTXzFk8Qc7aTtn6oPdy8rHsMl
  • Repin Family

Russian Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Military
  • Russian Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    44 – 54
  • (3–6 children9 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military

Sources (15) [ collapse]