Russian strikes on Okhmatdyt: terror accompanied by lies

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On July 8, 2024, Russia launched another massive missile attack on Ukraine. Among the targets was Okhmatdyt, the largest children’s hospital in the country, located in Kyiv. Currently, two dead and more than 50 injured, including seven injured children, are known, but the rescue operation is still ongoing.

Moscow’s lies and manipulations

The Russian Defence Ministry immediately declared that the targets of the attack were “objects of the military industry of Ukraine and air bases of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” and that Kyiv’s statements about targeted strikes on civilian objects “are not true.” “Numerous published photos and video footage from Kyiv unequivocally confirm the fact of destruction due to the application of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile complex within the city,” the Ministry of the aggressor state said.

This is an outright lie.

Firstly, the launch of the missile that hit Okhmatdyt was recorded by Ukrainian radars. It is known from which aircraft of the Russian Air Force it was launched and from which airfield it took off. Available videos confirm that the proportions, shape, and size of the missile correspond to the Russian Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile.

Secondly, fragments of exactly such a missile were found at the site of the strike on Okhmatdyt: fragments of the rear part of the missile with a serial number and part of the rudder of the same missile. The impact of the Kh-101 missile is also evidenced by the enormous destruction: the two-story building of the hospital was destroyed, and the surrounding buildings were significantly damaged.

Thirdly, Moscow’s attempts to shift responsibility to the Defence Forces of Ukraine are miserable. The available data (in particular, video recordings) indicate that the Kh-101 missile operated in normal mode without the influence of anti-aircraft defence or electronic warfare means. In addition, the NASAMS air defence missiles used by Ukraine are incapable of causing such large-scale destruction, as their power is almost 20 times less.

Thus, Ukraine has irrefutable evidence that the attack on Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital was not a tragic accident, not an error by the perpetrator, and not the consequences of the work of the Ukrainian Air Defence Forces, but it was a pre-planned war crime of the Russian Federation.

Terror for “peace”

Therefore, the Russian Defence Ministry’s manipulations that the attack on Okhmatdyt was a provocation, organized by Kyiv with the aim of “ensuring further financing of the Kyiv regime and the continuation of the war to the last Ukrainian,” look especially cynical. This propaganda narrative is well known to analysts at the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security. The chronology of its advancement coincides with the failure of Putin’s blitzkrieg and the transition of the war to a protracted phase. Since then, Moscow has been trying to convince Ukrainians that resisting the aggressor is futile and that Western financial and military aid only prolongs the war and increases the number of useless victims.

In view of the information coverage, it can be assumed that the attack on Okhmatdyt was Moscow’s information and psychological operation aimed at demoralizing Ukrainians and leading them to believe that Kyiv must accept the Kremlin’s “peace proposal” to prevent further casualties and destruction. It is worth noting that on July 8, the most massive missile attack on Ukraine occurred since the beginning of the year. The missile strikes were carried out in Kyiv, Kryvyi Rih, Dnipro, Pokrovsk, Sloviansk, and Kramatorsk. Currently, 38 dead and 190 injured are known.

This is a continuation of the Russian strategy of “coercing peace” (read also: Invitation to capitulate) through terrorist means. It seems that the Kremlin realized that the energy crisis in Ukraine, caused by Russian missile strikes, did not have the desired effect, and therefore they decided to intensify the terror by staging such a shockingly brutal operation as the attack on the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital.

However, such terrorist “peacemaking” by the Kremlin and attempts to renounce another war crime border on genocidal propaganda. For example, this is how the Russian propaganda Telegram channel Alex Parker Returns, with an audience of over 224,000 people, reacted to the attack on Okhmatdyt: “Mothers with sick children were evacuated from the Okhmatdyt hospital, in the yard of which hit a missile. Am I the only one thinking about a second strike by a Kinzhal missile?”

This disgusting publication cannot be considered as “performer excess”. According to the research, made by the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, the genocidal rhetoric of the Kremlin is present in Russian school textbooks, authorities’ official published materials, as well as in the federal media publications, that are subordinated to the government of the Russian Federation and financed from the state budget.

It is no coincidence that this act of terror against Ukraine was committed on the eve of the NATO summit in Washington. In this way, the Kremlin demonstrated its readiness for escalation to weaken the West’s determination to provide military and diplomatic support for Ukraine. Putin’s message is clear: “The only way to end this bloody war is to force Ukraine to capitulate.” However, the events of the past years convincingly prove that Moscow’s appeasement strategy only encourages it to further aggression and increase rates. Military, financial and diplomatic support for Ukraine is the only effective response to the Kremlin’s blackmail strategy. Because it is not the victim who should be forced to peace but the aggressor, who must fully feel the consequences of his actions and lose the objective opportunity to commit further crimes, both in Ukraine and abroad.

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