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On 8 April 2022, Russia carried out missile strikes on Kramatorsk which killed at least 39 people. However, the Russian Ministry of Defence did not claim responsibility for the attack and blamed Ukraine for shelling. According to the statement of the Russian MOD, leaving aside the fact that Russia had not carried out the attack on Kramatorsk on 8 April 2022, the Tochka-U tactical missiles (remains were found at the place of the strike) are in fact only in the weaponry of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This disinformation was also promoted in social networks (for instance, see link 1, link 2, link 3 and tass.ru).

It was initially reported that an Iskander type ballistic missile hit Kramatorsk. Later, it was confirmed that a Tochka-U missile was in fact used to bomb the Kramatorsk railway station where civilians awaited evacuation. This was confirmed by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The picture of the missile’s remains from the scene was disseminated and based on various assessments it is indeed a Tochka-U missile. For instance, Elliot Higgins, Founder and Creative Director of Bellingcat, the highly reputable investigative journalism platform, also confirmed this.

The claim of the Russians that Tochka-U missiles are only in the weaponry of the Ukrainian military and that the Russian army does not have them is a lie. It was reported as early as in early March that Russia experienced shortages of Iskander type missiles in its war against Ukraine and, therefore, started to use Tochka-U missiles as well as transporting batches of missiles to Ukraine (see photographs and footage of Russia transporting Tochka-U missiles on 5 March, 30 March and at the beginning of April). There was another piece of footage circulating in the media supposedly showing Tochka-U missiles which Russia fired from Shakhtersk to Kramatorsk. Russia also used Tochka-U missiles in Syria in 2021.

Other organisations also repute the Russian claim that they do not use Tochka-U missiles. For instance, Russia used Tochka-U as early as 24 February 2022 when the Vuhledar hospital was shelled in the Donetsk region (as a result, four civilians were killed and ten were wounded). This was confirmed by the authoritative international NGO, Amnesty International. According to the of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, Tochka-U missiles were also used on 19 March 2022 in the Luhansk region and one of them was shot down by the Ukrainian air defence systems.

Acclaimed international media also speaks about Russia shelling Kramatorsk (for instance, Politico, Aljazeera, Times of Israel, Telegraph, NY Post, etc.).

Therefore, the information of the Russian MOD that they do not have Tochka-U missiles in their weaponry and, therefore, it was Ukraine which shelled the Kramatorsk railway station is fake.

UPDATE: Russian propaganda also claims that the serial number of the Tochka-U missile used for striking Kramatorsk confirms that the missile belongs to Ukraine. However, this Russian propaganda claim is also untrue. In particular, researchers noted that the 9M79-1 marking on the missile which hit the Kramatorsk railway station indicates that missile is of the Tochka-U class (SS-21 Scarab according to NATO’s categorisation). However, it is impossible to identify that the missile was owned by the Ukrainian military with the serial number Ш91579 since this is a factory marking and not that of a military unit. These markings are for factories where these missiles were produced in the Soviet Union and then supplied to different countries, including Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Currently, there are eight countries which operate Tochka-U missiles. According to the logic of the Russian media, a missile with a similar marking could have also been fired from Belarus.

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