Key facts of the investigation:
1. The explosion indeed took place, the cause of the explosion was the use of the Tochka-U missile system.
2. The missile, contrary to the statements of the Russian media, was not shot down by air defense.
3. The number of victims is real.
4. It is impossible to reliably establish which troops fired the rocket, the reason being that Tochka-U missiles reach the target, turn 90 degrees, and hit exactly down.
5. The Russian troops had a motivation for shelling – the disruption of the planned protest of Ukrainian mothers.
6. Obvious inconsistencies in time were found – based on Russian media statements.
7. Evidence of fake video and fake clues "against Armed Forces of Ukraine" published by Russian media were found.
Was there an explosion or was it fake? – The explosion happened at 11:31 Moscow time. This is confirmed by a large number of different photo and video materials, the date and time of which corresponds to the event.
Was the Tochka-U missile system used or was it something else? – Based on the marking of the parts of the rocket, the Tochka-U missile system was used.
Was a cluster bomb used? – There is evidence that a cluster bomb was used. This corresponds to the markings on the rocket body. Also, 4-7 places where cluster bombs exploded were found.
Did an air defense system shoot down the missile? – Contrary to the statements of the Russian media, it definitely did not. The body of the warhead opens at an altitude of 2250 m, releasing 50 submunitions (cluster bomb), and activates their fuse. Based on the behavior of people in the video of one of the strikes, there was no sound of air defense over the Government House – passers-by reacted only at the time of the fall of the cluster bomb. There are some doubts because of the lack of sufficient damage to parts of the rocket body and the place of their fall.
Is the number of victims real? – It probably is. When one cluster bomb explodes, 316 fragmentation elements randomly fly out of it, which causes a significant amount of destruction. 4 places of fall and detonation of cluster bomb were reliably confirmed, however, there is indirect evidence for 3 more locations.
What troops launched the missile system? – It is impossible to calculate the flight path from cluster element strikes because the missile aligns itself to be perpendicular to the surface, opens, and scatters cluster bombs. Such bombs and missile systems are in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine (article for April 2021). In 2014, all missile systems were consolidated into the 19th missile brigade (based in Khmelnytskyi city), which was directly subordinate to the command of the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, since 2014 Ukraine has not had access to the resupply of bombs and their availability for 2022 is unknown. In addition, all available stocks of missiles in 2014 were severely past their expiration date, making it difficult to use them effectively.
At the same time, this missile system is actively used by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, their last known use was on February 15, 2022 (a week before the attack on Ukraine), during the Russian-Belarusian military exercises.
The principle of operation of the weapon and its type
According to the Russian media and according to the video, the strike was carried out by a cluster bomb from the Tochka-U missile system, which is confirmed by the markings on its propulsion system. The flight range of a bomb from the Tochka-U missile system, given the type of bomb, is up to 70 km.
This type of missile can carry various types of warheads (including nuclear ones), however, according to the markings on the body of the engine wreckage, 9M79K was used with a cluster warhead 9N123K (9M79-1K):
According to Russian propaganda, the missile was shot down by air defense systems. However, there were no traces of impact on the asphalt at the places where fragments of the tail section of the bomb fell, except for minor scratches, there also wasn’t significant damage to the body of the rocket itself. Photo of the propulsion system and instrument compartment, respectively:
An example of the fall of a similar bomb, where damage to the asphalt, body and completely identical markings are visible:
Markings were found on the wreckage that fell in Donetsk, according to which we determined the type of the bomb (9М79-1, serial number – ВГ900574):
Locations of the strike and scales of destruction
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, the rocket was launched at about 11:30 AM (Moscow time) and shot down at about 12:00 AM (Moscow time). However, according to the timecodes from the video of the moments of the strike (obviously, after the “air defense strike”, which for some reason people did not notice), time is 11:31 AM (Moscow time).
According to the Donetsk police, the target of the strike was the Government House, a radio and television center, and a military enlistment office. At the same time, the wreckage fell on the square in front of the Government House building (Pushkin Blvd., 34).
According to the available photo and video materials, approximately 5 locations of the strike on the city were found:
- Place of strike 1: Blvd. Pushkina, 31 (barbershop BORODA) – damage to the facades, victims on video. The point of landing of a cluster bomb on the asphalt in front of the building is reliably known (photo 1);
- Place of strike 2: Universitetskaya street, 28 (branch of Oschadbank) – localization of the largest number of victims. It is reliably known that there were 2 landing points of cluster bomb in front of the entrance to the bank, based on the video, there were also 2 explosions (photos 2 and 3);
- Place of strike 3: Universitetskaya, 26 – shops to the left of Oschadbank, where a car between Lexus RX350 and Hyundai Sonata was on fire, and on the opposite side of the street an orange bus and a trolleybus with people were damaged. Presumably, 2 landing points of cluster bombs were found (photos 4 and 5);
- Place of strike 4: the reverse side of the Government House, victims unknown. There is a video of the fall of the cluster bomb and the explosion;
- Place of strike 5: Universitetskaya, 37 – there were two burning cars and damage to the facades of the building, the exact place of the strike is unknown;
- Propulsion system – the place of the fall of the tail and instrument compartments, as well as the propulsion system.
Places of impact on the Blvd. Pushkin, 31 and st. Universitetskaya, 28 (place of strike 1 and 2, respectively):
The number of victims, motive
According to the Russian media, 20 people were killed and the other 28 were injured because of the explosion. Thus, the motive for the attack on Donetsk by the Russian Federation could be a protest of women in the Donetsk region against the forcible mobilization of men by the authorities of the DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) that had been planned for that day. This was reported by one of the residents of Makiivka after the incident. According to her, it was a “demonstrative action of our local authorities,” since “Pushilin doesn’t want people to make a fuss and ruin the TV picture about how the people of Donetsk want to defend the honor of the republic, that’s why he hit the center.” The words of a resident of Makiivka are confirmed by publications and comments in the VK group “Black List of Makiivka” from desperate women (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), and after the incident, there were some recommendations not to go to the protest.
The absurd facts
The video of the explosion
The video with the flight and the explosion of the missile, filmed in the alley along Artem street (48.004867, 37.804083), raises questions. In 500m from the shooting location (exactly forward along the street), as a result, parts of the rocket were found. Events in the frame: general plans of the street → the monument to Gurov → view of an empty alley → sound of an explosion → flight noise → operator’s words: “it’s flying, bitch” → an alarm goes off and the operator turns left. In this direction, the most affected Universitetskaya street is located, from where further filming is carried out:
Presumably, the video was staged and had been planned beforehand. Because filming had begun before the explosion (with static shots of the monument, the street, and the alley), and the cameraman shot on a video camera with a tripod.
Fake data about attack plans of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
On the same day after the explosion, the Russian media began to publish information about receiving a laptop of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Telegram channel of the DPR police (photo1, photo2) was the original source, what’s more, the photos of the laptop had been taken an hour earlier (photo at 17:25, post – at 18:45 Moscow time). As evidence, even the photo of the screen with a presentation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and plans for explosions in Donetsk were attached. The text there was in Ukrainian. However, Russian propagandists did not take into account that there is no letter “Э” in the Ukrainian language, the misspelled word is marked yellow on the photo below:
The location of the victims before the explosion
Based on the video from the branch of the bank, where there was the largest number of victims because of the explosion, people were standing in a queue in a closed hallway in front of the main premises of the working bank. Consequently, some of the visitors did not have enough space to be in the hallway and stood in the street. As a result of the explosion, there was a stampede, and even after the explosion, people could not pass or fall inside the bank until the guard opened the door: