Ukraine war crimes investigation notes
Where public statements are made in the course of investigations, or public appeals for information are made, they will be recorded here.
Case number 00010
I am looking for photographs of Kramatorsk Railway Station after the missile exploded killing 50+ yesterday. I am undertaking this search pursuant to a live war crimes enquiry already opened.
All the photos I have seen so far indicate no damage to the station building or to the railway line (the real strategic target - to prevent armies from using railway lines to move troops, supplies and armour). instead the missile seems to have fallen short, detonating in the forecourt in front of the railway station and damaging a number of cars parked there.
That is what the photos I have seen so far confirm to me
Does anyone have any more revealing photos?
The Tochka missile uses an inertial guidance system and hence it should be extremely accurate - as accurate as a Tomahawk for example. It is a high precision munition.
That leads to the obvious question, who aimed it at a central town car park in the middle of the day?
It is normal, incidentally, for the shell of a Tochka missile to be found after detonation. The warhead separates itself from the rest of the missile. It is odd to have 'for children': written on the side of any missile; it is hardly army vernacular. But this may not take us far.
What warhead did the missile have? The photos I have seen might suggest that it was carrying a fragmentation warhead - in other words a giant hand grenade, designed to kill maximum people - not to damage a structure. The fact that the missile survived intact is consistent with the use of a fragmentation warhead.
One possible inference is that whoever fired this missile at this railway station car park had only one motive: to kill as many people as possible.
We appeal for all persons with information, including photographs, other evidence, pieces of debris etc, to contact us.
Were the wounded treated at Kramatorsk City Hospital No.s 1, 2 or 3? The best way of establishing what sort of warhead was used is to look at the injuries of the wounded.
There are a number of indications that this may be a very serious war crime, possibly in the gravest category of intentional mass killing without colour of military justification.
Kramatorsk: has anyone developed a theory of the direction the missile came from; or where it was fired from? These sorts of missiles are fired off lorries that have several of them. It's hard to lose track of where they were fired from.
The other point is that these are tactical ballistic missiles: extremely fast (Mach 5+) and short range. It is not clear to me that western sources actually know what their accurate range is, but it's likely to be in the region of 70 to 100km or something of this order. This means we should be able to draw a circumference around the area from which it was fired. Then we go back to the satellite imagery and find all the lorries holding these missiles. Once we have done this, it should be fairly easy to guess which battery fired it.
Has anyone attempted this exercise?
Finally, I assume that there were absolutely no foreigners on the scene and I assume that at the time of writing there still are none. If I am wrong, and a journalist or other foreigner has made it to Kramatorsk, could they please email me in confidence at email@example.com or use any of the means of communication on the 'contact: page of our website www.the-paladins.com.
Any piece of evidence may help us establish where this missile was fired from. Without that information, it is very hard for a war crimes investigation to proceed
Above is the map of Kramatorsk, with the railway station highlighted as a red dot. And here is the view of the railway station from the forecourt where the missile's warhead detonated:
And here is a view after the rocket exploded:
Whereas here is the view from the railway tracks, looking at the station from the other side:
All this gives rise to the question, where did the rocket come from? If it had come from the southeast, as might be expected (the front line with Russia), then surely the used missile shell would be on the other (railside) side of the track; and the people killed would have been those waiting for trains on the tracks. But those things aren't right. The missile casing was in the forecourt, and the people killed and injured were in the forecourt. We know this from the following photo of the dead and injured people's luggage:
We are left wondering where the missile came from, being able to exclude with some degree of certainty that a missile travelling at Mach 5 was fired from the southeast and elegantly hopped over the railway station that might in principle have been its target, only to explode in the station courtyard killing the maximum number of people.