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The names of dozens of high-ranking Russian military engineers responsible for launching Russian Kalibr, R-500 and Kh-101 high-precision missiles at Ukraine have been published by the Bellingcat international investigative journalism group after a six-month investigation in collaboration with Russian investigative media outlet The Insider and German magazine Der Spiegel.
High-precision missiles have often been used against purely civilian targets in Ukraine, such as the strike on Vinnytsia in July, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines, which killed 28 people, including a four-year-old girl.
According to Bellingcat, some of the engineers have spent their entire careers in the Russian army or navy and later specialized in military engineering. Others, mostly young people, were recruited from non-military, mainly IT-related jobs.
To find those responsible, Bellingcat sifted through the records of thousands of Russian military academy graduates, focusing on those with a focus on missile engineering and programming. The named individuals were found to have been based out of two locations, the Defense Ministry headquarters in Moscow and the Admiralty headquarters in St. Petersburg.
The investigation was led by Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev, who played a key role in unmasking the FSB poison squad that attempted to assassinate Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny in 2020.
A Bellingcat investigation similarly played a key role in finding those guilty of shooting down civilian airliner Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast in 2014, recognized as a war crime against civilians for which the District Court of The Hague will give final judgment in November 2022.