By: Sam Doak
July 6 2023
These images predate the destruction of this restaurant.
On June 27, 2023, a missile hit a restaurant in Kramatorsk. This incident, which occurred just after 7.30 p.m. local time, resulted in the deaths of at least twelve people, according to subsequent media reports. On June 29, Ukrainian authorities announced that an employee of a local fuel delivery company had been arrested for aiding Russian forces in targeting the site.
In the aftermath of this event, two images have been circulated widely that some believe prove the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces. The first shows a trail of smoke in the sky, and the other a piece of shrapnel. Visible on the shrapnel is text written in the English language and a series of numbers that appear to resemble part of a ‘National Stock Number,’ a label attached to items procured through NATO’s supply systems. Presenting these two images together, social media users have claimed that they prove Russia did not target the restaurant.
Logically Facts has determined that the images predate the incident in question.
A reverse image search for both images reveals that these images were posted on Russian platform VK profile by an outlet called Rusvesna at 3.54 p.m. Ukrainian time on June 27. They were posted hours before the restaurant was destroyed. From further context derived from this post, it was possible to determine that both were initially posted by a local blogger on Telegram. The image of the smoke trail was shared by this account at 2.17 p.m., and the photograph of the supposed shrapnel appeared at 3.21 p.m.
In their original context, these images were used to claim that Ukrainian forces had accidentally targeted the city with a missile. Logically Facts has been unable to determine whether this incident took place as claimed, and there is insufficient information available in the images to geolocate or verify them. But we can determine that these images are not linked to the restaurant bombing, which occurred hours after they were first shared online.
While there is currently not enough publicly available information to determine with certainty whether the earlier incident occurred as described by Rusvesna, information from this source should be treated with a level of caution.
Describing the outlet in 2018, fact-checking outlet polygraph.info stated, “This website is part of the “Russkaya Vesna” network, which is reportedly a Kremlin-related propaganda program aimed at countries of the former Soviet Union. The network targets the Russian-speaking population of these countries, promoting the themes of a Russian nationalism under threat and the uniqueness of Russian values, together with strong support for President Vladimir Putin.”
These images were shared prior to the recent shelling of a restaurant in Kramatorsk. There is no possibility that either the shrapnel or smoke trail was produced by a missile used in its destruction. To date, no evidence has surfaced that suggests Ukrainian forces are responsible for this incident. This claim has therefore been marked as false.