“You can’t remove them with your hands, you have to use pliers,” said Klimashevskyi, pointing to the wall dotted with dark arrows.
These razor-sharp, inch-long projectiles called flechettes — which means “little arrows” in French — are a brutal invention of World War I, when the Allies used them to attack as many enemy soldiers as they could. They are loaded into shells fired by tanks. When the bullet explodes, thousands of bullets are sprayed over a wide area.
Flechette bullets are not prohibited, but their use in civilian areas is prohibited under humanitarian law due to their indiscriminate nature. When piercing, twisting and twisting the body, they cause serious damage and can be fatal.
After Russian forces withdrew from towns and villages north of Kiev, which they occupied in March, evidence emerged that they were using them in the offensive.
Irpin, a suburb of Kiev, is not the only place where this evidence has emerged.
In the village of Andriivka, about 20 kilometers west of Irpin, farmer Vadim Bozhko told CNN he found flecks scattered along the road to his home. Bozhko and his wife hid in the basement when their house was bombed. It was almost completely destroyed by a shell.
“Forensic experts found flechettes on the bodies of the residents of Bucha and Irpin. [Russians] He fired cannonballs with them and used them to bombard residential buildings in cities and suburbs,” Denisova said in a statement. It is unclear whether it was the flechette that killed the victims.
Klimashevskyi, 57, still vividly remembers the day it started raining on the patches. It was March 5th and he was lying on the floor in his house, away from the window, taking cover. A bullet hit the house next door, but did not explode.
Darts covered the area and he said he broke his car window.
Neighbors Anzhelika Kolomiec, 53, and Ihor Novohatniy, 64, fled Irpin during the worst fighting in March. When they returned a few weeks later, they said they found numerous flechettes scattered around their gardens and above their roofs.
They keep them in a glass jar on the porch. Every now and then they add another one.
“We find them everywhere,” Novohatniy said, pointing to the darts still standing on the patio roof. “These are coming out [of the roof]but they usually spread around.”
When they finally got home, Kolomiec did what he did every spring. He tended his garden, planting salad leaves, onions, and other herbs.
As he wandered around, he continued to find small metal darts that Russian soldiers had fired at him and his house. But being reminded of those terrible days didn’t stop her from doing what she loved.
“I love gardening. I don’t have much space, but last year I had hundreds of tomatoes, which I was giving to all my friends. We didn’t get any tomatoes this year, but I have some rucola bulbs. Flowers.”
Gül Tüysüz from Andriivka from CNN contributed to the news.