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X marks Bellingcat investigation into Russian hospital strike on Kyiv as 'potentially spammy or unsafe'

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 10, 2024 5:18 PM 2 min read
Emergency and rescue personnel, along with medics and others, clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on July 8, 2024. (Roman Pilipey/AFP via Getty Images)
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An investigation by Bellingcat into Russia's missile strike on a Kyiv children's hospital has been marked as "potentially spammy or unsafe" on X after it was first published on July 9.

The Netherlands-based open-source investigative media outlet is perhaps best known for helping identify the Russian officers and their Ukrainian proxies responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Donetsk Oblast in 2014. The Hague District Court convicted the defendants in the MH17 case in November 2022.

Bellingcat's July 9 investigation confirmed, using open-source materials and experts, that a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile had struck the Okhmatdyt children's hospital, Ukraine's largest children's medical center.

The assertion has been backed by other sources, including the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMUN) said there was a "high likelihood" that the hospital had been struck directly by a Russian Kh-101 missile.

Russian propagandists and others have nonetheless continued to spread disinformation about the attack, claiming without evidence that the hospital was struck by a Ukrainian air defense missile.

Bellingcat's investigation was posted on its website and shared on X, but when the article is opened from X, it displays a warning message that is still visible as of 4:48 p.m. local time.

(Screenshot/X)

"Could you clarify why this link to an article about a missile that hit a children's hospital in Kyiv was marked as potentially unsafe by X?" Bellingcat wrote on July 10, tagging the X support account.

"Other Bellingcat links, including coverage of attacks in other regions, have not faced the same scrutiny."

Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins wrote the previous day that it was "worth noting that this article about Russian bombing a children's hospital is the only Bellingcat link that shows the warning."

Following billionaire Elon Musk's 2022 acquisition of X, formerly known as Twitter, the social media company has faced criticism for the declining quality of its website, increased level of disinformation, and lack of effective moderation of the content shared there.

US announces moves against Russia-linked bot farm aimed at spreading disinformation
According to the Justice Department, the bot farm was organized by a Russian national who worked as the deputy editor-in-chief of RT in 2022, and expanded with funding from the Kremlin and collaboration with an official from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

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