Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

On "Tochka-U" attack in the city of Donetsk on 14 March 2022

On 16 March 2022, Russia circulated as an official document of the Security Council and the General Assembly a letter by the Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, which addressed an abhorrent attack that took place on 14 March in the city of Donetsk.

At about 11.30 a.m. Moscow time Tochka-U tactical missile with a cluster warhead was fired at a residential block in the center of the city from the territory controlled by the Kiev regime. This assault led to the killing of more than 20 civilians while 37, including children, women and elderly people, were injured and taken to medical institutions.

Photo- and video evidence (accessible at from the Russian Ministry of Defence provides a shocking illustration that this attack was carried out with the use of a cluster warhead and led to the death of civilians in the street.

This horrific attack by the Kiev regime violates the very basic rule of international humanitarian law (IHL) as enshrined in Article 48 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) of 8 June 1977: "Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives".

IHL is clear in determining what attacks can be considered disproportionate: under para 5 (b) of Article 51 of the Protocol these are attacks "which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a  combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated". In addition, para 4 of Article 51 clearly stipulates that indiscriminate attacks that are prohibited are those which are not directed at a specific military objective and those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective.

There were, however, no military objectives whatsoever in above-mentioned residential block in Donetsk, so there could be no "military advantage anticipated" for the Ukrainian armed forces from this barbaric act.

This circumstance alongside with the choice of time for attack (at noon) and location (the widely populated center of the city), as well as the weapon - tactical missile with a cluster munitions warhead - clearly point to that fact that the main objective was civilian population and the goal was to cause as much damage among civilians as possible.

Under paragraph 2 of Article 51 of the Protocol "the civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited". Therefore, the attack perpetrated by Ukrainian armed forces represents not only serious violation of IHL, but amounts to act of terror and a war crime against civilian population.

Given the proven record of the Kiev regime promoting false allegations and fake evidence, it should be noted that Tochka-U tactical missiles are not in service in the Russian Armed Forces.