- The rocket hit a busy market in Kostiantynivka on September 6
- Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of launching the missile
- The New York Times says evidence points to Ukraine triggering it
KYIV, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Evidence suggests a deadly explosion at a busy market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostiantynivka this month was caused by an errant missile fired by Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
Ukraine said the Sept. 6 blast, which killed at least 16 people, was caused by a Russian missile.
“Evidence collected and analyzed by The New York Times, including missile fragments, satellite images, witness statements and social media posts, strongly suggests that the catastrophic strike was the result of an errant Ukrainian air defense missile fired by a Buk launch system,” the newspaper said. reported.
Reuters could not independently verify the report.
Asked about the report, the press service of Ukraine’s security service SBU said the Russians were responsible for the strike, which it said involved Russia’s S-300 missile system, according to an ongoing investigation.
“This is particularly evidenced by the identified fragments of bullets found at the scene of the tragedy,” it said, adding that the investigation is also examining other materials that point to Russian involvement in the shelling.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoljak said the circumstances were being investigated by law enforcement agencies and that “the legal truth will be established.”
He added that the publication of foreign media reports raising “doubts about Russian involvement in the attack … has given rise to conspiracy theories” and would require scrutiny by investigative authorities.
“In the meantime, we must not forget: it was Russia that launched the invasion of Ukraine, and it is Russia that is responsible for bringing war to our country,” he said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday described the Sept. 6 blast as a “Ukrainian attack on its own city.”
A New York Times report said security camera footage showed the missile had flown into Kostiantynivka from a direction from Ukrainian-controlled territory, not from behind Russian lines.
It said minutes before the strike, Ukraine fired two surface-to-air missiles toward the front line from the town of Druzkivka, 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Kostiantynivka, citing a witness who said they were headed in the direction of Kostiantynivka.
The explosion holes and debris at the site were consistent with a 9M38 missile fired by a Buk mobile anti-aircraft vehicle, it said. The Buk system is used by both Ukraine and Russia.
Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, editing by Timothy Heritage and Gareth Jones
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