Deadly Kramatorsk missile was Russian – not Ukrainian

Introduction

On June 28, 2023, a Russian missile hit a crowded restaurant in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. 13 people died in this attack, including at least 3 children and a leading Ukrainian poet and author (as of July 3).

As with pretty much every major strike on civilians, to add insult to injury, false stories immediately began being circulated by pro-Russian influencers online.

BBC Verify reports:

A Russian missile attack killed eight people in the centre of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, at the end of June. [Note: Increased to 13 deaths as of 3 July. -UFC]

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, a post by an account with a Twitter Blue subscription, which positions itself as a legitimate news source, claimed the strike was mistakenly launched by Ukraine and hit a military barracks housing Nato troops and foreign mercenaries.

“Storm Shadow missile suddenly changed trajectory dramatically, hitting Kramatorsk obliterated a Ukrainian military barracks housing foreign soldiers and mercenaries,” the tweet claimed.

The post was viewed more than a million times.

There is no evidence that a missile launched by Ukrainian forces was responsible, nor that a military barracks was hit.

This disinformation post combines two different narratives often used by Russian propagandists:

  1. “They did it to themselves”.
    • Claim: Russia wasn’t shooting at this target – it was actually a “Ukrainian missile” that hit it.
    • Status: Zero proof or credible sources supporting this claim.
  2. Imaginary “military target”.
    • Claim: This target was actually a “military facility”, so it’s fine for the Russians to have fired missiles at it.
    • Status: False. Easily disproven by comparing photos of the strike, to images of the restaurant building pre-strike.


Summary

The claims made about the Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk on 28 June are: (a) baseless; (b) false.

Thank you to Shayan Sardarizadeh and the rest of the team at BBC Verify for this reporting.

All sources:

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