According to the New York Times, the missile which killed 16 people in a market in the Donetsk region in early September, and whose firing Kiev blamed on Russian forces, actually came from a Ukrainian anti-aircraft system.
“The attack appears to have been a tragic accident.” In a survey published on September 18, the New York Times blames the Ukrainian army for the strike on the Konstantinovka market. The tragedy, which killed 16 people and injured dozens of others on September 6 in this town in the Donetsk region, was attributed by Volodymyr Zelensky to “the artillery of Russian terrorists”.
A Buk missile coming from the northeast
A version that the New York daily refutes today. “Evidence collected and analyzed” by journalists, “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,” they write.
They also refer to security camera footage, which “shows that the missile landed on Konstantinovka from territory under Ukrainian control, and not from behind Russian lines.” “As the sound of the approaching missile is heard, at least four pedestrians appear to simultaneously turn their heads toward the approaching sound. They face the camera, towards the territory under Ukrainian control,” report the authors of the investigation.
“Moments before its strike, the reflection of the missile was visible as it passed over two parked cars, showing it coming from the northwest,” the journalists continued. Several witnesses, including a Ukrainian soldier, spoke to the New York Times missile fire from the area surrounding Konstantinovka at the time of the market strike.
The impacts were not like those of a Russian S300
The journalists also deny Ukrainian statements, made the day after the strike, according to which a Russian S300 missile was used. “The metal facades of the buildings closest to the explosion were perforated with hundreds of square or rectangular holes, probably made by cubic objects projected outwards by the missile,” describe the journalists, impact photo and fragments in support, believing that it does not look like the explosion of an S300. “Their shapes and dimensions show that the damage on the market site was most likely caused by a 9M38,” the journalists believe. A conclusion shared by “two independent military experts in mine clearance”.
As for the “extensive” burn marks on the site of the explosion, journalists explain it by the short distance traveled by the Ukrainian missile, “less than 16 kilometers”, when it is planned to travel three times that distance. The authors of the investigation nevertheless take extreme precautions, emphasizing in particular that this “probable failure” occurred after the Russians “bombarded Kostantinovka the previous night” and that Ukrainian artillery fire was reported on Telegram “ just a few minutes” before the deadly strike.
The latter also caused a reaction across the Atlantic. The strike underlined “the need to continue to support the Ukrainian people in the defense of their territory,” according to the White House on September 6, while the head of American diplomacy was then in Kiev. On the same day, he announced new military aid to Ukraine, including depleted uranium munitions for the Abrams tanks to be delivered to the Ukrainian forces.