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ISW: Russia attempts to deflect responsibility for the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital strike

The Institute for the Study of War reports that available evidence contradicts Russian claims attempting to deflect responsibility for the attack on a Kyiv children’s hospital.
missile attack hospital
Aftermath of the Russian missile attack on Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt children’s hospital on the morning of 8 July 2024. Photo: State Emergency Service of Ukraine
ISW: Russia attempts to deflect responsibility for the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital strike

The US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 8 July that Russian officials and information actors are trying to shift blame for the strike on Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in Kyiv through various false claims.

According to the ISW, these efforts contradict available evidence.

The Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation warned on 9 July that Russian propaganda sources are promoting multiple narratives to deflect responsibility. These include false claims that Ukraine was using part or all of the hospital to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers, that Ukraine storing missiles at the hospital, and that Ukrainian air defense missiles and not a Russian missile hit the hospital.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) asserted that footage “clearly confirms” Ukrainian air defense missiles damaged civilian objects in Kyiv, likely referring to the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital. However, the ISW points out that this claim is at odds with the evidence.

Russian sources have widely circulated footage of the missile just before impact.

“Some milbloggers even published misleading posts falsely claiming that it was a Ukrainian air defense missile and not an attacking Russian Kh-101 missile,” the ISW reports.

The ISW stated that the missile’s trajectory in the video and the visible turbojet engine under its hull match the frame of a Russian Kh-101. In its report, ISW does not support claims that it was an air defense interceptor, and the missile does not appear damaged by air defense interceptors.

Further supporting this assessment, the Ukrainian SBU reported that the missile components’ serial numbers match those of other Russian Kh-101s launched at Ukraine, according to the ISW.

The ISW also notes that some Russian milbloggers claimed Russian forces were targeting the Artem machine building plant, located about 1.6 kilometers north of the hospital.

However, the ISW reports that “other Russian missiles actually hit the Artem Plant during the strike,” suggesting this was not a case of missed targeting.

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