“Today, Russian troops shelled Kharkiv using rocket artillery,” Mr. Zelensky said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “This is, without any doubt, a military crime. A peaceful city. Peaceful residential neighborhoods. Not a single military object in sight.”
Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the treaty that bans cluster munitions, which can be a variety of weapons — rockets, bombs, missiles and artillery projectiles — that disperse lethal bomblets in midair over a wide area, hitting military targets and civilians alike. But their use might well mark a new — and bloodier — chapter in the battle for Ukraine.
“We are convinced that this was a cluster munition attack,” Stephen Goose, a munitions expert at Human Rights Watch, said in an email.
The indiscriminate nature of the Kharkiv assault, made clear in videos verified by The New York Times, may indicate impatience by President Vladimir V. Putin with his military’s progress in what many outside analysts — and some Ukrainian commanders themselves — had predicted would be a fast Russian victory over an outgunned and outmanned adversary.
Mr. Putin’s grievance-laden decision, announced last week, to invade Ukraine has inspired widespread resistance in the former Soviet republic and beyond. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing their homeland, but many are staying put, turning to whatever weapons are at hand to try to thwart the invaders.
Moscow is also encountering vigorous opposition internationally, and has become increasingly isolated as the United States and its allies vastly expand economic sanctions on Russia and on Mr. Putin’s allies. On Monday, Royal Dutch Shell became the second big oil company in two days to quit partnerships in Russia, a major energy producer, following BP on Sunday.
On Monday, international groups representing sports, culture and entertainment joined in banning or suspending Russian participants.