A missile strike that hit a crowded market in the Ukrainian town of Kostiantynivka, killing at least 17 civilians earlier this month, may have been caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine, the New York Times reported.
Thirty-two more people were injured on September 6 when a missile struck 20 kilometers from the front lines in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, one of the civilian tolls the highest in a single incident in recent months.
Video of the aftermath shows fires raging in destroyed buildings and soldiers carrying body bags away from the scene. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hours later accused Russia of being responsible for the attack.
However, evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times suggests that the strike was “the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system” that failed to hit its target and landed in the bustling heart of Kostiantynivka. “Missile fragments, satellite images, witness accounts and social media posts strongly suggest that the catastrophic strike was the result of the firing of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile,” he reported Tuesday.
Security camera footage reviewed by the newspaper shows that “the missile flew towards Kostiantynivka from the direction of Ukrainian-controlled territory, not from behind Russian lines.”
He said that when the sound of the approaching missile was heard, at least four pedestrians appeared to simultaneously turn their heads toward the incoming sound toward Ukrainian-controlled territory.
The newspaper also published a video showing, moments before the strike, the reflection of the missile visible as it passed over two parked cars as it appeared to be coming from the northwest.
The New York Times said two independent military bomb disposal experts, who asked to remain anonymous, said the fragments and damage at the strike site most closely match a 9M38. which is fired by the Buk mobile anti-aircraft systemand not with a Russian S-300.
The journalists cited air defense experts who said 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.
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 .
The Guardian was unable to verify the report and there was no immediate comment from Ukraine or Russia, although, according to the New York Times, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian armed forces said the country’s security services were investigating the incident and under national law could not comment. further away.
On November 15, 2022, a missile struck the Polish village of Przewodów, near the border with Ukraine, killing two people. While Ukraine said it had “no doubt” that the missile had been fired from Russia, an investigation by Polish authorities ultimately established that it was “highly likely that it was fired by the Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense” and that it “unfortunately fell on Polish territory”.
Since the start of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has repeatedly bombed thousands of residential buildings, more than 300 hospitals and more than 3,000 schools and universities, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.