The New York Times, based on its own investigation, claims a missile explosion in the central market of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region, on Sept. 6, which killed 16 people, was actually a “tragic accident” as a result of a wayward Ukrainian rocket, and not Russian shelling.
“Evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launcher system,” according to NYT journalists.
The article says that such missiles can go off course for various reasons, ranging from an electronic malfunction to damage during launch. The likely rocket failure occurred amid shootings that were often ongoing in the area.
The NYT says that the Ukrainian authorities immediately after the strike allegedly tried to prevent their journalists from entering the area affected by the explosion and/or examining missile debris, but in the end the reporters were able to get to the scene, interview witnesses and collect fragments of the weapon used.
Based on the recording of the surveillance camera, NYT journalists claim that the rocket flew into Kostyantynivka from the side of the territory controlled by Ukraine, and not from the Russian-controlled side.
NYT writes that the camera captured at least 4 pedestrians simultaneously turning their heads toward the sound of an approaching rocket. Those individuals were facing the camera − in the direction of the territory controlled by Ukraine.
Also, moments before the impact, the reflection of the rocket on the roofs of parked cars is visible − the publication indicates that this also allegedly indicates that it was flying from the northwest.
According to the publication, several witnesses either heard or saw how Ukrainian troops fired surface-to-air missiles from Druzhkovka toward Kostyantynivka during the shelling of the market. And evidence collected at the market suggests that the rocket was fired from this direction.
The Office of Strategic Communications (StratCom) urges Ukrainians to wait for the results of the official investigation into the missile strike on Kostyantynivka.
In a comment to Ukrainska Pravda, StratCom said that any comments or assumptions “can be used and certainly will be used by Russian propagandists.”
“In order to clarify the circumstances of the missile strike, the Security Service (SBU) on Sept. 6 launched criminal proceedings under Ukraine law regarding ‘Violation of the Laws and Customs of War.’ An official investigation is underway. Until its completion, by law, commenting on any details regarding the incident is prohibited and inappropriate,” StratCom said.
An anonymous SBU source used by Ukrainska Pravda claims that Buk missiles were not used by the Ukrainian forces on that day.
Ukrainska Pravda’s source said that the Russian army still hit Kostyantynivka with the S-300.
“According to the investigation, the enemy hit this civilian object from the S-300 complex. This is evidenced by the identified fragments of the rocket seized at the scene of the tragedy,” the SBU said.
The President of Ukraine’s Office also reacted to the NYT article. Mykhaylo Podolyak, adviser to the President’s Office, said: “The appearance in foreign publications of articles with doubts about Russia’s involvement in the attack on Konstantinovka causes an increase in conspiracy theories and therefore will require additional legal assessment by the investigating authorities.
“The public will definitely receive an answer to the question of what exactly happened in Kostyantynivka,” he said.
“Meanwhile, we should not forget: it was Russia that launched the invasion of Ukraine and it is Russia that is responsible for bringing war to our country,” Podolyak added.
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