In a region known for frequent conflicts, a missile likely malfunctioned in Kostiantynivka. The night before, Russian forces had shelled the area. Shortly before the missile strike on the market, Ukrainian artillery fired from the city.
The Ukrainian armed forces’ spokesperson mentioned that they are investigating the incident as per national law but couldn’t provide further details.
Initially, Ukrainian authorities tried to block Times journalists from accessing the missile debris site, but they eventually gained access, interviewed witnesses, and collected missile remnants.
The Strike: Security footage shows the missile approaching Kostiantynivka from Ukrainian-held territory, not from behind Russian lines. It detonated above the ground just before impact, causing metal fragments to scatter. The damage pattern suggests a northwesterly route.
A Suspected Ukrainian Launch Site: Evidence indicates that moments before the strike, the Ukrainian military fired two surface-to-air missiles from Druzhkivka, northwest of Kostiantynivka. Witnesses reported hearing loud launches, and the timing aligns with the strike.
Ukrainian Missile Likely Fell Short of Target: The missile’s type doesn’t match the official claim; instead, it resembles a missile fired from a Buk antiaircraft vehicle.
Witnesses saw Ukrainian forces firing surface-to-air missiles toward Kostiantynivka, possibly explaining the missile’s direction.
The missile may have malfunctioned, explaining its short range and unspent fuel causing scorch marks upon impact.
In summary, a missile malfunction in Kostiantynivka led to damage, likely fired by Ukrainian forces from a nearby location, possibly due to a malfunction.