(Reuters) – Evidence suggests a deadly explosion this month at a busy market in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kostiantynivka was caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Ukraine said the September 6 explosion, which killed at least 16 people, was caused by a Russian missile.
“Evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite images, witness accounts and social media posts, strongly suggests that the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system,” the newspaper writes. reported.
It cites air defense experts as saying missiles such as the one that hit Kostiantynivka can veer off course for a variety of reasons, including an electronic malfunction or a damaged or torn-off guidance fin during launch.
He said security camera footage showed the missile flew toward Kostiantynivka from the direction of Ukrainian-controlled territory, not from behind Russian lines.
The New York Times also cited evidence showing that minutes before the attack, the Ukrainian military launched two surface-to-air missiles toward the Russian front line from the town of Druzhkivka, 10 miles northwest of Kostiantynivka .
He cited two witnesses who said they saw the missiles being fired from Druzhkivka toward the Russian front line at the time of the strike. One of them reportedly said that the missiles had gone in the direction of Kostiantynivka.
The newspaper said measurements of holes caused by the explosion and fragments found at the scene matched the 9M38 missile, fired by the Buk mobile anti-aircraft vehicle.
The Buk system is used by both Ukraine and Russia.
Reuters was unable to independently verify this information. A Ukrainian presidential adviser did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
The New York Times cited a spokesperson for Ukraine’s armed forces who said the country’s security services were investigating the incident and, under national law, could not comment further.
A spokesperson for the Ukrainian military command referred Reuters to the comment cited in the New York Times article.
(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, editing by Timothy Heritage and Gareth Jones)