Share this @internewscast.com


More than a month after the Ukrainian army retook Irpin from the Russians, Volodymyr Klimashevskyi is still finding the little nail-like projectiles scattered around his garden and embedded deep in the walls of his house.

“You can’t take them out with your hands, you need to use pliers,” Klimashevskyi said, pointing to the wall dotted with the dark darts.

Called flechettes — French for “little arrows” — these razor-sharp, inch-long projectiles are a brutal invention of World War I when the Allies used them to strike as many enemy soldiers as possible.

Ukrainian man Vadim Bozhko holds the flechettes he found near his home in Andriivka. (CNN)

They are packed into shells that are fired by tanks. When the shell detonates, several thousands of the projectiles are sprayed over a large area.

Flechette shells are not banned, but their use in civilian areas is prohibited under humanitarian law, because of their indiscriminate nature. They cause severe damage as they rip through the body, twisting and bending — and can be lethal.

The United States used them during the Vietnam War and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs accused the Israeli military of using them against civilians in 2010 in Gaza, according to a report by the US State Department. But other than that, they have been rarely used in modern warfare.

After Russian forces retreated from the towns and villages north of Kyiv that they had occupied in March, evidence emerged that they had been using them during their assault.

Flechette projectiles are rarely used in modern warfare but are being used by Russian troops in Ukraine. (CNN)

Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, isn’t the only place where that evidence emerged.

In the village of Andriivka, about 20km west of Irpin, farmer Vadim Bozhko told CNN that he found flechettes scattered along the road leading to his house. Bozhko and his wife hid in the basement as his home was shelled. It has been almost completely destroyed by a shell.

The darts were also found in the bodies of people who were killed in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, according to Liudmila Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsman for human rights.

Denisova said last month that after “the liberation of cities in the Kyiv region, new atrocities of Russian troops are revealed”.

“Forensic experts found flechettes in the bodies of residents of Bucha and Irpin. The [Russians] launched shells with them, and used them to bomb residential buildings in cities and suburbs,” Denisova said in a statement. It is unclear whether the flechettes were what killed the victims.

Klimashevskyi, 57, still clearly remembers the day the flechettes started raining down on him. It was March 5 and he was lying on the floor in his house, away from the window, taking cover. A shell hit the house next door, but failed to explode.

The darts covered the area and destroyed the window in his car, he said.

His neighbours Anzhelika Kolomiec, 53, and Ihor Novohatniy, 64, fled Irpin amid the worst fighting in March. When they came back after several weeks away, they said they found numerous flechettes scattered around their garden and on top of their roof.

They keep them in a glass jar on the patio. Every now and then, they add another one.

Flechette projectiles found in civilian homes in Irpin, Ukraine. (CNN)

“We’re finding them all over,” Novohatniy said, pointing to the darts that are still lodged in the patio roof.

“These are sticking out [of the roof], but usually, they are spread around.”

When they were finally able to return home, Kolomiec did what she does every spring. She took care of her garden, planting salad leaves, onion and other plants.

Defenders of Ukrainian stronghold continue to repel attacks

Digging around, she kept finding the little metal darts that the Russian soldiers were firing at her and her home. But the reminder of those terrifying days hasn’t stopped her from doing what she loves.

“I love gardening. I don’t have much space, but last year, I had hundreds of tomatoes, I was giving them to all my friends,” she said.

“This year, we couldn’t get tomatoes, but I have rucola and onion and some flowers.”

Share this @internewscast.com
You May Also Like
NASA finally launched its 'CAPSTONE' spacecraft (pictured) on Tuesday morning, marking an important early stage in its Artemis space program. The craft, which is about the size of a microwave oven and weighs just 55 pounds, blasted off from Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand at 05:55 (21:55 local time).

NASA launches microwave-sized spacecraft into orbit around the moon

NASA launches microwave-sized spacecraft into orbit around the MOON in first step…

Former Nazi guard, 101, jailed for aiding murder

A 101-year-old man was convicted in Germany of more than 3500 counts…

Three prisoners escape from Townsville Correctional Centre farm

Three men are on the run after escaping from the farm of…

Domenic Perre found guilty of murder over 1994 National Crime Authority bombing

Domenic Perre has been found guilty of murder over the 1994 bombing…

L-plater returns one of highest blood alcohol readings Victoria Police has seen

An unlicensed learner driver allegedly recorded one of the highest blood alcohol…

Shortage of eggs confirmed in supermarkets

A Woolworths spokesperson said the marketwide supply of locally produced eggs in…

Airbnb makes pandemic ‘party ban’ permanent

Airbnb has said it will make permanent a ban on parties originally…

Video shows moment man was gored by bison at Yellowstone

The 34-year-old man from Colorado was walking with his family on a…