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NYT reports Ukrainian missile might have accidentally struck Kostiantynivka market, Kyiv still investigating

by Dinara Khalilova September 19, 2023 4:58 PM 3 min read
The aftermath of a Russian attack on Donetsk Oblast’s Kostiantynivka on Sept. 6, 2023. (Photo: Donetsk Oblast Military Administration/Facebook)
This audio is created with AI assistance

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The New York Times reported on Sept. 18 that the Sept. 6 missile strike on a market in Donetsk Oblast's city of Kostiantynivka could have resulted from a Ukrainian malfunctioning air defense missile fired during battles nearby.

Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) and Air Force told the Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne they were still investigating the attack. Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Head of the Presidential Office, said that "society will definitely get an answer on what exactly happened in Kostiantynivka."

On Sept. 6, a missile struck a crowded market in front-line Kostiantynivka, killing at least 15 people and wounding 36, according to the latest information by the regional prosecutor's office.

The NYT said they had reached this conclusion after collecting and analyzing evidence, including missile fragments, satellite imagery, witness accounts, and social media posts.

According to the media outlet, Ukrainian forces might have fired a 9M38 missile using the Buk air defense system from the outskirts of nearby Druzhkivka in the direction of the Russian front line, with the rocket possibly falling short of its target and landing in Kostiantynivka.

Air defense experts told NYT that a 9M38 missile can go off course for various reasons, including malfunctioning electronics and a damaged or sheared launch ring.

Ukrainian authorities have reported that Russia hit the market with an S-300 missile, which the SBU said is evidenced by identified missile fragments. Security services also told Suspline they were examining other materials pointing to Russia's involvement in the attack.

UN: 292 civilian casualties recorded in first 10 days of September
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 292 civilian casualties in Ukraine from Sept. 1 through Sept. 10, with 55 killed and 237 injured.

The NYT wrote, however, that they were able to collect remains of the missile that struck Kostiantynivka, alleging that its warhead was different from an S-300 one.

Commenting on the NYT report, Podolyak said such articles "cause the growth of conspiracy theories, and therefore will require additional legal evaluation by investigative bodies." He emphasized that Ukraine's law enforcement agencies investigate all attacks conducted during Russia's war by default.

"In the meantime, we should not forget: it was Russia that started the invasion of Ukraine, and Russia is responsible for bringing war to our country. And it is Russia that regularly inflicts massive missile, bomb, and drone strikes on civilian infrastructure and the civilian population," added Podolyak.

"Ukraine, on the other hand, conducts exclusively defensive actions, defends itself and its territories."

Russian attacks kill 6, injure 17 in past day, overnight
Russian attacks against Ukraine have killed six civilians and wounded another 17 in the past day and overnight, regional authorities reported on Sept. 19.
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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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