Kiev’s use of a fragmentation warhead to kill and injure civilians in a busy market-place is a metaphor for the destruction of the country under its rotten and corrupt leadership. Both are so far invisible to the leaders and publics of NATO countries, and those others obliged to shelter under the simmering nuclear umbrella of the old Empire.
Following the missile attack on a busy street in Kostantinivka, a town about 25 kms SW of Artemovsk/Bakhmut, journalists from the New York Times who were in the nearby town of Druzhkivka sought expert help and did some proper investigative work in the following days. Their conclusions, and photographs, were published by the NYT 12 days later as "Evidence suggests Ukrainian missile caused Market Tragedy"
I have republished the text of the NYT investigation, which contains important details but is behind a paywall, in an accompanying article.
The NYT is not known for its impartial journalism or independent research, and on Ukraine has been responsible for cultivating and spreading the most egregious lies and fabrications - the Bucha story being the stand-out. And this story was no different, as they came up with various improbable excuses as to how a Ukrainian missile could have 'strayed off course' or 'malfunctioned', not even daring to suggest it could have been fired intentionally. (or perhaps not even thinking it)
Nevertheless the Western media were very critical of the NYT, and while admitting that the story seemed plausible, didn't miss the opportunity to bash the Russians over it, as if they were guilty anyway. Such an excuse could have a little plausibility were it shown that a Russian missile or jet was the target for its surface-to-air missile - but there were no reports of such a flight, and the border of Russian control in the direction of the missile's trajectory was around 25 kms away. It is also reported that a second BUK missile launched a couple of minutes earlier had hit a nearby building in Kostantinivka but failed to detonate. This of course would completely blow apart any story that the missile had malfunctioned if it were verified.
As it happened, the NYT story appeared just before Volodomyr Zelensky delivered his latest spray of venomous invective to the UNGA, so the NYT came in for criticism for letting the side down - simply for pointing out the obvious truth. There isn't really any way that a Russian missile could have approached the town from the North West, and the NYT drew attention to multiple indications that this was its origin, including a short introductory video from which the scenes below are taken:
As can be seen from the point of detonation in the box above, the missile apparently exploded several metres above ground and before impact. This was confirmed by the damage seen in the photo below, where two concentric lines show the impression from the steel fragments:
A closer look shows the imprint of the similar sized fragments in the BUK 9M38 missile’s warhead, and their restricted range visible on the metal wall of the building on the right – the south-west side of the street:
A drone view of the strike area also shows the arc of shrapnel damage – two views below. The white area is where a number of vehicles were incinerated; note also the position of shadows, confirming the orientation of the street, and viewpoint towards the South-East:
The images below from the NYT show perforations in metal, and one of the many typical square fragments picked up from the area:
While the NYT doesn’t report detailed investigations into the damage caused by the missile, there was doubt over the cause of the fire that consumed cars and buildings in the area above. There is visual evidence in some videos that the warhead also contained incendiaries, with frames from this graphic AP video showing bright white flashes in the fire. This view is across the street looking North-East, to the left of the images above:
The incriminating evidence for Ukraine’s culpability for the strike, if not its intention and criminality, included damage and burning of vegetation at the presumed site of the missile launch near Druzhkivka, as illustrated below – from the NYT’s investigation using expert help and local observations: (the bottom right image is a video in the article, showing signs of recent heavy vehicle tracks.)
The annotated map below shows the distance and direction travelled by the missile or missiles, and the further distance they would need to have gone to reach the Russian front. (remembering that the 9M38 missile is a surface to air missile intended to shoot down aircraft and not to hit ground targets, so its range would not be sufficient to travel the extra distance either.)
It might also be asked how the missile was directed at the intended target, once it is accepted that the strike was no accident. The BUK system uses a complex radar vehicle for targeting information, but the missile may also have heat-seeking and independent radar systems.
It is also relevant to compare this strike with the attack on Kramatorsk railway station in April 2022, which was similarly calculated and timed for political effect. In that case the missile was a Ukrainian Tochka-U fired from 70 kms away; a relatively blunt instrument that nevertheless hit its target - a crowd of people who had gathered at the station after hearing of a train coming to collect refugees. I prepared the composite image below at the time:
Despite the missile being clearly of Ukrainian origin - including the crass slogan "ZA DETI" - "for the children" painted on the side in a pathetic attempt to frame it on Russia - it is still 'officially' accepted that this attack was a 'Russian war crime'. Kramatorsk is not far from Kostantinivka, and the two attacks were related in media reports - on the lines that 'Russia has done this before'. Now those same media will be citing both alleged attacks as supportive evidence for Russia's culpability for further atrocities, taking us further and further from holding the Kiev regime and its partners to account.
Currently there are proceedings in the International Court of Justice where Ukraine is bringing charges of 'genocide' against Russia, despite Russia having a genuine case for a similar charge against Kiev. Ever since 2014 various elements of the Kiev regime have made statements of genocidal intent against Russian-speaking citizens of Eastern Ukraine, and continue to do so; Russia's intervention in February 2022 was primarily to prevent such a genocide from taking place, and the associated expulsion of citizens from Donbass and even Crimea.
Those who doubt that Ukraine has such criminal intent need only examine Kiev's record, from the war on Donbas in 2014-15 to today's Nazi brutality. This research may be helped by a recent documentary recording of witnesses to these crimes, compiled by Maxim Grigoriev. All the claims made by these people - mostly residents of Mariupol - were made at the time in sympathetic media but unverified; Maxim's witnesses spell it all out - how they were held as hostages and human shields by the Azov battalion in Mariupol as the DPR and Russian soldiers fought to liberate the city. The documentary can be viewed on his Telegram channel here:
while the witness statements and stories are also available in PDF form here: https://t.me/grigoriev_maxim/577
As the author notes:
The accounts presented in this book testify to massive Ukrainian war crimes, which under international humanitarian law are classified as crimes against humanity and have no statute of limitations.
Perhaps we need another category, to include war crimes such as that committed in Kostantinivka, which in addition were blamed on the victim of the crime - whether Russian-speaking local civilians or on Russia, who is punished and abused by the collective West.