Posts falsely blame Ukraine for a missile strike on Kyiv children’s hospital (2024)

By MELISSA GOLDIN

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CLAIM: Ukraine is responsible for a missile strike that hit the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Ukraine’s Security Service wrote in a statement on Telegram that it found wreckage from a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile at the hospital and has opened proceedings on war crime charges. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed without evidence in a Telegram post that images from Kyiv showed the damage was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile. As supposed proof of Ukraine’s responsibility, social media users shared old photos, falsely claiming they showed shrapnel from such missiles that was found at the hospital following Monday’s attack.

THE FACTS: After Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital was struck as part of a daytime barrage that saw dozens of Russian missiles target five Ukrainian cities, posts circulated social media falsely claiming that Ukraine was at fault for the hit.

“Ukraine blew up their own children’s hospital in Kiev this morning with an American air defense missile,” reads one X post that had received approximately 9,200 likes and more than 4,300 shares as of Monday. “Stop sending these TERRORISTS BOMBS @POTUS.”

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Another post on X that had been liked and shared more than 5,500 times states: “Ukrainian children’s hospital was hit by a Ukrainian anti air defense missile. Ukraine shoots up to 3 air defense rockets per Russian cruise missile, all can’t hit the Russian missile…so they land randomly in the city.”

But Ukraine’s Security Service wrote on Telegram that it found wreckage from a Russian Kh-101 cruise missile at the site — including fragments of the rear hull with a serial number and a rudder — and opened proceedings on war crimes.

The Kh-101 is an air-launched missile that flies low to avoid detection by radar. Ukraine said it shot down 11 of 13 Kh-101 missiles launched Monday, The Associated Press has reported. The International Criminal Court’s founding charter says it is a war crime to intentionally attack “hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry, also on Telegram, said the strikes targeted Ukrainian defense plants and military air bases and were successful. It denied aiming at any civilian facilities and claimed without evidence that pictures from Kyiv indicated the damage at the hospital was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.

Since early in the Russia-Ukraine war that is well into its third year, Russian officials have regularly claimed that Moscow’s forces never attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, including AP reporting.

Some posts are sharing photos they claim show shrapnel from Ukrainian air defense missiles found at the hospital as supposed evidence that Ukraine is at fault for the attack. One image has been online since at least 2022 and another since at least May.

Two other photos were originally posted on Telegram by a Ukrainian media outlet with the caption, “Debris from rockets is found in Kyiv after a massive rocket attack.” The post, written in Ukrainian, does not specify what kind of rockets the debris is from or where in Kyiv it was found.

At least 31 people were killed and more than 150 wounded in Monday’s missile barrage, the AP has reported. It was Russia’s heaviest bombardment of Kyiv in almost four months, hitting seven of the city’s 10 districts. Seven people were killed in the capital, including two staff members at the hospital, where three children were hurt. Strikes in Kryvyi Rih, Zelenskyy’s birthplace in central Ukraine, killed 10.

The attack unfolded a day before Western leaders who have backed Ukraine were scheduled to begin a three-day NATO summit in Washington to consider how they can reassure Kyiv of the alliance’s unwavering support and offer Ukrainians hope that their country can survive Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.
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This is part of the AP’s effort to address widely shared false and misleading information that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.

Posts falsely blame Ukraine for a missile strike on Kyiv children’s hospital (2024)

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