Does the serial number of the missile that hit the Kramatorsk station prove the responsibility of Ukraine? – Editing

The war between Ukraine and RussiaIssue

Russia claims that the nature of the missile used and its serial number prove that the strike was the work of the Ukrainian military. Arguments refuted by experts.

After a week of terror left by the Kramatorsk strike, Moscow – almost systematically during strikes that killed civilians – denies any responsibility, even claiming and providing evidence of Ukrainian responsibility for sending a missile that fell on the Donbass River. A station in Ukrainian territory, where hundreds of civilians were waiting for their trains to flee the Russian onslaught. At least 52 people were killed, including many children, and hundreds were injured. These elements of the Kremlin propaganda, which benefit from an important relay on social networks, do not actually prove anything.

During the initial fluctuation, several pro-Kremlin (but unofficial) channels initially saw the Kramatorsk strike as a successful strike against Ukrainian military targets. Among other things because, a few minutes before the bombing of Kramatorsk, the Russian army announced that it had hit three stations in the immediate vicinity (including the center of Smolensk less than 10 kilometers away).

The latter then systematically denied Russian responsibility for the bombing. Their main argument is based on the remnants of the projectiles used in the bombing of the station, namely the Tochka-U missile system. The BBC’s analysis on April 13 of the wreckage and traces of projectiles makes it possible to determine the use of submunitions. An international treaty prohibits its use, among other things, of its wide, imprecise and potentially devastating scope of effect against the civilian population, but neither Ukraine nor Russia have signed the treaty. Since the beginning of the invasion, the use of submunitions by the Kremlin on civilian targets has been extensively documented.

Soviet heritage

Russia immediately claimed that these Tochka-U missile systems were not part of its arsenal. This returns, de facto, responsibility to Ukraine. But this is not true. In fact, both countries possess this legacy of the Soviet arsenal. Ukraine’s use of these weapons has been proven since the beginning of the invasion in several strikes on Moscow’s forces, as well as the presence of Russian Tochka-Yu forces around the Ukrainian theater, as indicated by investigative groups such as conflict intelligence team (CIT) and Bellingcat, or famous military analyst Rob Lee.

The Russian military has since turned to another argument: the missile’s serial number, which will be close to the number of other missiles launched by Ukraine. Which confirms, according to their statements, that it was indeed a missile from Kyiv that was to hit the Kramatorsk station. elements Wide plank For a week by the pro-Kremlin domains and plot relays. Several channels that echo the Moscow line have gone so far as to share a very realistic fake BBC video featuring these elements.

The serial number of the Kramatorsk missile, taken from this report broadcast by Italian television on the evening of the raid, is very real. CheckNews I also found that the serial number of some other missiles, such as this one, believed to be Ukrainian, fired at separatist Donbass in 2015, differs only on a few units.

Asked about this by Bellingcat, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense explained that these missiles were manufactured and delivered to their warehouses during the Soviet era, and through Eastern Bloc units. Thus, the matching of serial numbers will not allow the attribution of strikes, as Russia does. Also in its responses to Bellingcat, the Ukrainian Defense supports its argument with two documented cases before the invasion of Ukraine, the Tochka-U number VG910840, which Ukraine used in 2014 on the town of Snizhne, and the missile number VG910865 (only 25 digits above) of the same model, this time used by Russia in Syria after four years.

“The serial number means nothing”

Statements that go in the same direction that several analysts interviewed CheckNews. Neil Gibson, a weapons analyst who carefully follows the arsenal deployed in the Ukrainian conflict, is one of those:Without access to classified ammunition data and export tables, the serial number means nothing as to who is responsible or not.The lack of images of the impact also makes it impossible to estimate the trajectory of the missile.

In short, the elements presented by Moscow as convincing are not. But it is still impossible at the present time to attribute the accuracy and precision of the Kramatorsk strike, as confirmed by several analysts I interviewed. verification As well as Bellingcat or BBC. Even if some elements converge with that: the Kremlin’s frenzied lies, Russia’s announcement of strikes on stations in this Ukrainian-controlled region, or even Bellingcat’s documented photos of missile launches in the separatist Donbass just minutes before the Kramatorsk attack. , although its course or nature did not allow for a more in-depth analysis, nor to attribute the blow with certainty to Russia.

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