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Fact Check: Russian Defense Ministry denial of striking Kyiv children's hospital is false


Emergency and rescue personnel, along with medics, clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on July 8, 2024. (Roman PILIPEY / AFP)
Emergency and rescue personnel, along with medics, clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital following a Russian missile attack in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on July 8, 2024. (Roman PILIPEY / AFP)
Russia's Ministry of Defense

Russia's Ministry of Defense

"Numerous photos and video footage published from Kyiv confirm beyond doubt the fact of destruction due to the fall of a Ukrainian air defense missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile system within the city."

False
Russian Defense Ministry denial of striking Kyiv children's hospital is false.
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Ukraine declared a day of mourning on July 9, calling for a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting after Russian missiles killed at least 37 civilians and injured more than 170 across Ukraine on July 8.

In Kyiv, a Russian missile hit and heavily damaged Ukraine's largest pediatric center – the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital. Russia's massive attack coincided with the peace negotiations in Moscow, where visiting leaders of India and Hungary tried to reach a deal with President Vladimir Putin, and occurred just a day before Ukraine's allies gathered in Washington for a NATO summit.

In Russia, both the Kremlin and the Defense Ministry denied attacking the children's hospital or any other civilian targets in Ukraine.

Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on July 9 that Russia does not attack civilian targets in Ukraine.

Russia's Ministry of Defense claimed in a July 8 statement that the Ukrainian air defense destroyed Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital with a stray missile.

"Numerous photos and video footage published from Kyiv confirm beyond doubt the fact of destruction due to the fall of a Ukrainian air defense missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile system within the city."

That is false.

Russian military launched the long-range Kh-101 cruise missile that destroyed Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

Based on evidence found at the scene, including the missile fragments with a serial number and part of the rudder, Ukraine's Security Service identified the rocket that hit the children's hospital in Kyiv as a Kh-101 strategic cruise missile.

Dozens of witnesses captured on video and photos the moment the Russian Kh-101 missile struck the Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital.

Forensic experts from Ukraine's Justice Ministry analyzed and verified the digital materials and concluded that it was indeed a Russian rocket captured on footage seconds before hitting Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital.

Independent military experts and investigative journalists, including Julian Roepcke from the German newspaper Bild have also concluded that the Russian military hit the children's hospital with a Kh-101 cruise missile. Roepcke suggested the Russian Tu-95 bomber launched the missile while flying over the Caspian Sea.

Several experts debunked the Russian Defense Ministry's claim that Ukraine launched the rocket from the land system within Ukraine.

Military experts explained the Russian independent media outlet Agentstvo that the missile's trajectory shows it could not have been launched from a land-based anti-aircraft system but was indeed launched from an aircraft.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, also rejected the claim that Okhmatdyt was destroyed by a Ukrainian air defense missile:

"The trajectory of the missile in the video and the visible turbojet engine under its hull match the frame of a Russian Kh-101 and do not support claims that it was an air defense interceptor, nor does the missile appear damaged by air defense interceptors," ISW assessed.

Moscow has consistently denied targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, but the United Nations and other international bodies verified that Russian attacks have killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians since Russia's full-fledged military invasion in February 2022.

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