13:40 Nov. 14, 2016
Unexploded MLRS missile was produced in Russia and fired on Ukrainian village of Berezove
Officers of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) report about unexploded multiple launch rocket system ‘Smerch' missile of Russian production found Donbas. The charge fell at the courtyard of local villagers in Berezove near Mariinka, Donetsk region. According to military experts, ammunition's marking indicate that militants fired 300 millimetre missiles with cassette (cluster) warhead with fragmentation combat elements.
It's a kind of explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller sub-munitions over a wide area, which pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove.
Cluster munitions are prohibited by The Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland in May 2008. As of 1 October 2015, a total of 118 states have joined the Convention, but not Russia.
"These charges are produced only in Russia, ‘Smerch' system may only be operated by professional military personnel," SBU report states.
Such conclusion was made from the marking ZP2-95 (ЗП2-95 in Russian) on one of missile's elements, which indicates encrypted factory (‘loader plant' in Russia, Ukraine not producing such weapon), lot number and year of manufacture (1995). Missile contains 72 combat elements 9N235, carrying 6912 fragments able to destroy unarmoured vehicles and 25,920 fragments able to kill personnel. Impact zone of one element is 300-1100 square meters.
SBU in cooperation with the Military Prosecutor documented the fact of MLRS ‘Smerch' usage and added it to the list of evidences of Russian aggression in respective criminal proceeding.
According to Ukrainian military, Russian proxies commenced 35 attacks of Ukrainian positions last day. One Ukrainian soldiers was injured, at least 3 militants were killed by response fire.
Situation map of Donbas on Nov. 14, arrow marks the area where the missile was found (click to enlarge)