The Kostyantynivka Market Tragedy: Between Accusations and Evidence

The Kostyantynivka Market Tragedy: Between Accusations and Evidence

The tragic bombing at an outdoor market in Kostyantynivka, eastern Ukraine, which led to the death of 15 individuals and injured 30 more, has intensified the tension between Ukraine and Russia. Both nations are trading blame, with recent findings by The New York Times (NYT) only adding to the controversy.

What Happened in Kostyantynivka?

On September 6, a missile strike in Kostyantynivka resulted in significant casualties. The immediate aftermath saw Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy laying the blame squarely on Russian forces, describing it as an "attack by Russian terrorists." Zelenskiy's sentiment was clear: "This Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible."

The New York Times Report

Contrary to Kyiv's assertions, The New York Times published a detailed report on September 19 suggesting the missile was more likely to have been a misfire from Ukraine's own armed forces. Their evidence, which encompassed missile fragments, satellite imagery, social media posts, and witness accounts, pointed towards an "errant Ukrainian air defense missile" from a Buk launch system as the probable cause of the devastation.

Notably, the report included security footage showing a missile approaching the market from what seemed to be Ukrainian-held territory. The direction is contrary to the claims made by Kyiv that the missile had been launched from behind Russian lines.

Ukraine's Response

Kyiv was swift in its rebuttal. The press service of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) maintained that it was a Russian S-300 missile system responsible for the tragedy. They pointed to "identified missile fragments" at the scene as evidence of Russian involvement.

Senior aide to President Zelenskiy, Mykhaylo Podolyak, emphasized the ongoing nature of the investigation and assured that the "legal truth will be established."

Russia's Take on the Matter

Moscow, which has been under scrutiny for targeting civilian areas throughout the conflict, promptly capitalized on The New York Times' findings to reinforce its stance since the onset of the full-scale invasion.

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stressed the urgency of the "complete demilitarization of the Kyiv regime." She asserted, without providing substantial evidence, that Ukraine had fired a 9M38 missile from a Buk surface-to-air missile system, causing the tragic incident.

Experts Weigh In

The NYT report also shared insights from experts, highlighting the potential reasons why air-defense missiles, like the one suspected in this tragedy, might veer off course. Causes could range from electronic malfunctions to damage to their guidance systems.


The Kostyantynivka tragedy underscores the intricate and volatile nature of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. With the truth obscured by the fog of war, the hope remains that a thorough and transparent investigation can bring clarity to this tragic incident, offering closure to the victims and their families.