“You can’t take them out with your hands, you have to use pliers,” Klimashevskyi said, pointing at the wall dotted with dark darts.
Called flechettes – French for “little arrows” – these razor-sharp, inch-long bullets are a brutal invention of World War I when the Allies used them to hit as many enemy soldiers as possible. They are packaged in bullets that are fired from tanks. When the bullet explodes, several thousand bullets are sprayed over a large area.
Flechette bullets are not prohibited, but their use in civilian areas is prohibited by humanitarian law, due to their indiscriminate nature. They cause severe damage as they tear the body, twisting and bending, and can be lethal.
After Russian forces withdrew from the towns and villages north of Kiev they occupied in March, evidence emerged that they had used them in their assault.
Irpin, a suburb of Kiev, is not the only place where this evidence has emerged.
In the village of Andriivka, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) west of Irpin, farmer Vadim Bozhko told CNN that he found flechettes scattered along the road to his home. Bozhko and his wife hid in the basement while his house was bombed. It was almost completely destroyed by a grenade.
“Forensic experts found flechettes in the bodies of Bucha and Irpin residents [Russians] he fired bullets 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 on him. It was March 5 and she was lying on the ground in his house, away from the window, taking shelter. A grenade hit the house next door but did not explode.
The darts covered the area and destroyed his car window, he said.
His neighbors Anzhelika Kolomiec, 53, and Ihor Novohatniy, 64, fled Irpin during the worst fighting in March. When they returned after several weeks of absence, 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 so often they add another.
“We are finding them all over the place,” Novohatniy said, pointing to the darts that are still stuck in the patio roof. “These are emerging [of the roof]but they are usually scattered “.
When they were finally able to go home, Kolomiec did what he does every spring. She took care of his garden, planting salad leaves, onions and other plants.
Digging around, she kept finding the small metal darts that the Russian soldiers were shooting at her and her house. But the memory of those terrifying days of her 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 used to give them to all my friends. This year we couldn’t get the tomatoes, but I have rocket and onion and some flowers.”
CNN’s Gul Tuysuz in Andriivka contributed to the report.