Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 2024. Photo: Anadolu via Getty Images
Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 2024. Photo: Anadolu via Getty Images

PRIO has received the news that the three-year project Recording Explosive Munitions for the analysis of WAR crimes (REMWAR) will be funded by the Research Council of Norway.

Russian forces in Ukraine have engaged in several possible war crimes, such as intentional attacks on civilian infrastructure, extrajudicial killings, numerous abductions, violence against prisoners of war, and sexual violence, including rape. How can we explain such atrocities? For the ongoing war and a possible future of increased great power conflict, this question carries both scientific and social urgency.

“REMWAR represents a significant leap in documenting and explaining possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. We use cutting-edge technology to develop tools for automatic event detection via remote sensing, to provide unprecedented insights into an ongoing war,” said project leader Sebastian Schutte (PRIO).

“Peace will eventually come to Ukraine, but if history is any guide, it will be fragile. REMWAR’s framework can directly inform post-war efforts to monitor ceasefire violations at scale and low cost. This is important, since previous attempts at remote sensing of ceasefire violations required specialized hardware, which resides in areas now occupied by Russia,” said Schutte.

The project is a collaboration between PRIO and the seismology organization NORSAR, which has long-term experience in global monitoring of nuclear tests.

“It is really exciting bringing together the NORSAR experts in remote sensing and the PRIO experts on conflict event data analysis,” said PRIO Director Henrik Urdal.

The project will start in January 2025.