KYIV — Ukraine on Tuesday pushed back against a New York Times investigation, which said evidence suggested that Kyiv accidentally bombed a local market in its own town of Kostiantynivka killing 15 people.
According to the New York Times‘ report published Monday, a combination of witnesses, findings in Kostyantynivka and open-source investigation of video footage and local anonymous Telegram channels indicated the September 6 attack was actually a tragic accident, caused by a Ukrainian BUK missile system firing toward Russian forces from the Ukrainian-controlled nearby town of Druzhkivka.
Ukrainian law enforcement, however, says the evidence they have about the strike points at another Russian war crime.
“The enemy hit this civilian object from the S-300 complex. This is evidenced, in particular, by the identified fragments of the rocket recovered at the scene of the tragedy,” Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) spokesman Artem Dehtiarenko told POLITICO.
“The investigators are also studying a number of other materials that indicate the involvement of the enemy in this shelling,” he added.
Ukrainian Army Strategic Communications Center said: “Currently, an official investigation is underway, until the completion of which it is worth refraining from speculation and conjecture. Because this is actively used by Russian propaganda.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, agreed.
“No doubt, the appearance of publications in foreign media with doubts about Russia’s involvement in the attack on Kostiantynivka entails the growth of conspiracy theories, and therefore requires examination and legal assessment by the investigative authorities,” Podolyak said.
He said Ukrainian society will receive answers about what exactly happened in Kostiantynivka — a front-line town in the Donetsk region — after Ukrainian investigators finish their job.
“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. Ukraine, on the other hand, conducts exclusively defense actions, defending itself and its territories,” Podolyak said.
In a statement, Nicole Taylor, managing director for external communications at the New York Times, said: “We stand by this report. Evidence analyzed by The New York Times and independent bomb-disposal experts suggests the strike on the market was caused by an errant Ukranian missile and appears to have been a tragic mishap. Ukrainian authorities said they are investigating the incident.”
This story has been updated.