A week after the horror of the Kramatorsk strikeMoscow – as almost systematically during the attacks that have caused the death of civilians – denies any responsibility, and even claims to have obtained and presented evidence of the responsibility of the Ukrainians in sending a missile that fell on the Donbass station in Ukrainian territory , where hundreds of civilians waited for their trains flee russian attack. At least 52 have died, including several children, and hundreds are injured. These elements put forward by the Kremlin’s propaganda, which benefit from an important relief in social networks, do not really prove anything.
During an initial flutter, several pro-Kremlin (but unofficial) channels first saw the Kramatorsk attack. a successful shot at Ukrainian military targets. Among other things because the russian army announceda few minutes before the shelling of Kramatorsk, having hit three stations in the immediate vicinity (including Smolensk which is less than 10 kilometers away).
The latter then methodically denied Russian responsibility for the bombing. The main plot of it is based on the remnants of the shells used to bomb the station, namely a Tochka-U missile system. Analysis produced by the bbc April 13 on the debris and traces left by the shells makes it clear that submunitions were used. An international convention prohibits its use, among other things because of its wide and imprecise radius of impact that can be particularly devastating against the civilian population, but neither Ukraine nor Russia are signatories to the treaty. Since the beginning of the invasion, the Kremlin’s use of submunitions against civilian targets has been massively documented.
Russia immediately claimed that these Tochka-U missile systems were not part of its arsenal. This places, de facto, the responsibility on Ukraine. But that is wrong. Actually, both countries have this legacy of the Soviet arsenal. The use of these weapons by Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion has been demonstrated in several attacks on Moscow troops, as well as the presence of Russian Tochka-Us in the surroundings of the Ukrainian theater, as pointed out by research groups such as the Conflict Intelligence Team (ICT) and rattle cator the renowned military analyst Rob Lee.
Since then, the Russian military has engaged in another argument: the missile’s serial number, which would be close to that of other missiles fired by Ukraine. Which would confirm, according to his statements, that it was indeed a missile from kyiv that would have hit the Kramatorsk station. Items brandishing massively for a week by pro-Kremlin spheres and conspiracy relays. Many channels echoing the Moscow line went up to sharing fake bbc videovery realistic, which took up these elements.
The serial number of the Kramatorsk missile, taken from this report from an Italian television channel broadcast the night of the strike, is very real. To watch the news also found that the serial number of some other missiles, such as this, what would be ukrainianfired at separatist Donbass in 2015, it differs only by a few units.
asked by Bellingcat on the subject, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry explains that these missiles were manufactured and delivered to their storage places in Soviet times, and through units of the Eastern bloc. Therefore, matching serial numbers would not allow strike attribution, as Russia does. Also in its responses to Bellingcat, the Ukrainian defense supports its argument with two cases documented before the invasion of Ukraine, the Tochka-U number VG910840used by Ukraine in 2014 in the city of Snizhne, and the missile number VG910865 (only 25 numbers above) of the same model, this time used by Russia in Syria four years later.
“The serial number means nothing”
Statements that go in the same direction as several analysts interviewed by Check News. Neil Gibson, an arms analyst who closely follows the arsenal deployed in the Ukrainian conflict, is one of them:Without access to classified ammunition data and export tables, the serial number means nothing about who is or is not responsible.The lack of images of the impact also makes it impossible to estimate the trajectory followed by the missile.
In short, the elements presented by Moscow as convincing are not. But it stays for now impossible to attribute with certainty and precision the Kramatorsk strike, as pointed out by the different analysts interviewed by check news, as well as Bellingcat or the BBC. Although certain elements concur: the frantic lies of the Kremlin, Russia’s announcement of attacks on stations in this area controlled by Ukraine, or even the images authenticated by Bellingcat of the launch of missiles in the separatist Donbass a few minutes before the Kramatorsk attack. , although its trajectory or its nature did not allow a deeper analysis, nor the attribution with certainty of the blow to Russia.