Clementchuk missile strike: what the evidence shows.Medusa appreciates the Kremlin’s claims following a Russian airstrike in a crowded shopping district

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At least 20 civilians were killed in a Russian air bombing at a shopping mall in Kremenchuk, a city in the Poltava region of Ukraine, on Monday, June 27. Dozens more have not yet been explained. Kieu called the strike an act of terrorism and an “unintentional attack on civilian targets.”Russian authorities initially Claim The attack was a “Bucha-style false flag,” but the Russian Defense Ministry soon admitted that the strike had actually occurred. However, in Russia, a strike “to a foreign munitions warehouse” exploded some of the weapons stored there, damaging a nearby abandoned shopping center. Medusa explains the holes in the Russian story.

Around 4 pm on June 27, there was a big explosion in the center of Kremenchuk, and almost 10 seconds later there was another explosion. At the same time, the Amster Shopping Mall was on fire. Within a few hours it burned to the ground.

City officials reported that 19 bodies were found at the fire scene in the evening and another died in the hospital. About 40 other people in the mall went missing. More than 50 people were injured, most of them burns.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Home Affairs reported that the strike was carried out by a Kh-22 missile launched from a Tu-22 bomber that took off from the Shaykovka Air Force Base in the Kaluga region of Russia.

Later Kremenchuk authorities Indicated Journalists are a huge crater and a destroyed production facility at a road machinery factory near Amster Mall. The hole is about a third mile from the shopping center and seems to confirm the version of the Russian Defense Ministry event. According to the ministry, they started a strike on the factory because Ukraine had stored weapons there, and some weapons exploded and set fire to a nearby shopping street. But that story is wrong.

Problems with Russia’s claims

  • First of all, the mall, which Russian authorities claim to be “abandoned,” was actually fully functional. This video Shows the June 25th mall, just two days before the attack. moreover, message Starting February 23, one of the mall’s owners has shown that they are asking customers and clerk not to evacuate every time the air raid siren sounds (this happens on a regular basis, Ukrainian authorities). , I swear to investigate the instructions of the mall manager).
  • Second, the mall was hit by another explosion — it didn’t cause a crater at a road machinery factory.
  • Third, the order of the events was the opposite of what Russia claimed. The explosion at the mall (which seems to have caused the fire) occurred 10 seconds before the explosion at the plant. According to Google Maps, as the Russian Defense Ministry claims, there were no hangars or warehouses at the explosion site near the mall where weapons could have been stored.

The basis of the Russian story

On June 28th, several videos from surveillance cameras in Kremenchuk City Park were posted online. The park is directly behind the road machinery factory, between the factory and Amster Mall.At the start of videoPeople and birds in the park are probably visibly alerted by distant explosions. After 10 seconds, we see a second explosion — which is much closer.

Based on the layout of what we saw in the video, it is clear that the second explosion was at a road machine shop. It is not possible to pinpoint the epicenter of the first explosion from the footage, but in one of the videos you can see a heavy pillar of smoke rising behind the plant from approximately the location of the mall.

In addition, Medusa took pictures taken on the day of the attack from a higher altitude, about two miles from Amster Mall. The person who sent the photo asked Medusa not to publish the photo itself, as it could be used not only to use his name, but also to identify where he lived. Medusa could not confirm his claim to the source of the photo, but found no evidence to suggest that the photo was forged.

The photo shows two explosions of the same size. The smoke above the mushroom cloud in one of them has already begun to dissipate, suggesting that it occurred a little earlier. Meduza has geographically identified the location where the photo was taken and the approximate location of the explosion. The first explosion (smoke began to disappear) occurred at or near the mall, and the second explosion occurred at or near the road machine shop. ..

The photos (which appear to have been taken continuously for about 30 minutes) show no signs of a secondary ammunition explosion (they appear to have been taken continuously for about 30 minutes). happenedFor example, in March 2022, after a missile attack at Kieu’s Retroville Mall, where Ukrainian troops were hiding cannons and shells). The smoke from the explosion simply keeps extinguishing and you can see the fire in the mall.

To Comparison Satellite images on April and June 28 can pinpoint where the missile landed near Amster Mall. In addition to the destruction at the mall, the June image probably shows what the craters left by the missile are. It is right next to the single-track railroad that separates the mall from the factory. The potentially affected area is about 100 feet from the mall. Specifically, from a store called Comfy, which had more casualties and missing persons than any other store after the strike. according to Immediately after the explosion, the store caught fire, so I asked a mall employee.Security camera footage showing the missile attack confirms the location (you can see the coordinates here).

Based on this evidence, it can be safely concluded that the first missile exploded in the immediate vicinity of Amster and the second missile hit the production facility of a road machine shop. Evidence also suggests that there was no “munitions explosion” that the Russian Defense Ministry claimed to be the cause of the fire at Amster Mall (at least for the first few days of the explosion, all ammunition exploded. did).

It leaves one question: Did the factory have ammunition or other military equipment? So far, the Russian Ministry of Defense has made this claim without presenting evidence.Ukrainian authorities and factory managers Rejected And none of the journalists reporting on the scene have found any signs of ammunition at the factory.

Why Russia is unlikely to “intentionally” hit the mall

Judging from the evidence at the strike site, it is difficult to conclude that the Russian airstrike was an “intentional attack” on Amster Mall. The missile did not hit the mall directly. According to Mall employees, its busiest section, the Silpo Supermarket, was largely unharmed (but later destroyed by a fire) in the first few minutes after the attack. Technically, one of the missiles landed in the immediate vicinity of the mall, but both landed in the area of ​​a nearby road machine shop. Not surprisingly, the plant was the target of both strikes.

The rest can be explained by the specific features of the missiles used to carry out the strike (based on reports from Ukrainian authorities that they were the Kh-22). These missiles were developed in the 1960s (and modernized in the 1970s) and were aimed at attacking large groups of NATO ships and aircraft carriers rather than accurate attacks on ground targets.

The missile has two possible guidance systems.

  • After modernization, the Kh-22 was guided by an inertial system on most flights. First, the exact position of the host aircraft (the reference point of the coordinate system) was determined at launch, then a special system calculated everything. The change in the missile’s position (altitude) since the missile left the reference point. , Course, wind drift, etc.). However, errors are inevitable, and with this system alone, missiles cannot attack even large ships. Using only the inertial system, the estimated deviation of the Kh-22’s circle is about 500 meters (1,640 feet).
  • Initially equipped with a radar-guided homing head to allow the Kh-22 to collide with the aircraft carrier (if already approaching). This will guide the missile to the most powerfully detected vessel. Due to the inaccuracies of the late Soviet inertial guidance system, missiles were to use only nuclear ammunition with a capacity of 1 megaton when attacking a group of ships.
  • Therefore, the Kh-22’s radar system does not work to attack certain land targets, such as plants, so missiles are highly explosive warheads, but are only used to attack “area targets.” Is logical. .. The large (about 900 kg) warhead allows the missile to hit the target despite its low accuracy.
  • The main advantage of the Kh-22 over other types of missiles is that Russia has a lot of them. Ukraine handed over nearly 400Kh-22 to Russia after deciding to abandon all nuclear weapons and missiles that could carry them. It is unknown how many Russia remain (some are destroyed), but as Russia begins to run out of more modern missiles, they may appear more.

Is it permissible to use such inaccurate and powerful missiles to attack city targets in war?

No. This attack has all the characteristics of war crimes. This is one of the many crimes committed in Russia in the invasion of Ukraine.

Bombardment in the Clementuk shopping district shows that when Russian military commanders are planning a strike, they prioritize effectiveness and cost above all else, including the lives of civilians.

explainer To Meduza

Translated by Sam Breeze Ale Clementchuk missile strike: what the evidence shows.Medusa appreciates the Kremlin’s claims following a Russian airstrike in a crowded shopping district

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