Possible strike on Western mercs gathering in Kramatorsk: Footage
The Russian armed forces target a hotel that has apparently been home to dozens of foreign mercenaries and soldiers.
Ukraine on Wednesday accused Russia of striking a hotel in the city of Kramatorsk, which was backed with photos and videos documenting the aftermath of the incident. The Ukrainian emergency services claimed that at least ten people were killed and another 61 were wounded in the strike.
ALERT— Arnaud De Decker (@arnauddedecker) June 27, 2023
Two rockets hit restaurant RIA Lounge in downtown Kramatorsk. People trapped under the rubble. Heavy scenes. Wounded and dead. pic.twitter.com/FY3pL3qQr7
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense said the point of temporary deployment of the commanders of the 56th motorized infantry brigade of Ukraine's Armed Forces was hit, with footage confirming that there were soldiers trapped under the rubble.
Additionally, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskovc said, "The Russian Federation does not strike at civilian infrastructure. The strikes are made at facilities that are somehow connected with military infrastructure."
Kramatorsk has long been a heated battlefield - within the Donetsk People's Republic, Kiev and Moscow have long been fighting for control over the strategic city.
One photo shared by a Belgian freelance reporter shows men in what appears to be combat fatigues in the background.
This is a picture from inside. I took it about 20 minutes before the explosions. pic.twitter.com/NaWOoCNJd9— Arnaud De Decker (@arnauddedecker) June 27, 2023
The claims being made by Ukraine and Western media were quickly undermined by footage shared on social media that made various revelations about the nature of the incident.
Ukraine was quick to underline that the site was purely civilian; however, videos circulated online show that there was a huge concentration of troops at the site hit by Russia.
Though they were not in uniform, the soldiers in question bore many indications highlighting that they were foreigners, as they were speaking English and had tattoos and symbols affiliated with the US military, which indicates that they are mercenaries that came to fight against Russia.
Disinformation is actively spreading in the Ukrainian segment of the Internet that Russia has destroyed civilian objects in Kramatorsk, and many vacationers have suffered.— Neodvisni Novinar (@EZdionica88) June 28, 2023
But all the facts point to the opposite: there are videos of the “first seconds” after the impact on the… pic.twitter.com/tF852dzx2r
The person shooting the video in the video linked above can be heard talking to the man on the ground, who appears to have been hit by the Russian bombardment, saying to him: "You're listening to me, yeah?" With another saying: "Nod your head if you can hear us," confirming that the men present at the site were foreigners.
They could just be tourists, but it would be more than just a coincidence for such a large concentration of American tourists to be a hotel in war-struck Kramatorsk. This is not the only video in which English can be heard in the DPR city. English chattering can clearly be heard in the video, though much of it is unintelligible due to the chaos.
Original pic.twitter.com/CgyPuVMy6k— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) June 28, 2023
The above video shows another English speaker at the site, who condemns the attack before revealing that "there's soldiers under this rubble all over."
Going back to the first video, looking closely at the first clip, the man opposite the one filming the video appears to have a tattoo on his forearm. After further inspection, several social media users were quick to notice that the tattoo matches the path of the third ranger battalion of the US Army, confirming that the man is either actively in combat or an army veteran.
Another video shows a medic treating a wounded individual wearing military fatigues and donning the flag of the United States on his helmet. (Can be seen at around 00:13).
vid from a belgian journalist there, idk but 2dudes who come out in black with just army bodyplates look fishy af pic.twitter.com/9ZSnCkL0Yl— M.Tushayev (@Ghostoftushayev) June 27, 2023
That same video shows other soldiers and a pair of men emerging from behind the site the medic is treating the wounded wearing black combat fatigues and body plates.
Another screengrab from another video showed that one man was wearing a shirt with the insignia of the 101st Airborne Division, an infantry division of the US Army that specializes in air assault operations.
More US chevrons. pic.twitter.com/Ae9tmxF9Yd— Lord Bebo (@MyLordBebo) June 28, 2023
Some journalists argued that the Russian armed forces attacked a hotel in which NATO instructors and Ukrainian soldiers reside.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky still insisted that Russia used an S300 missile to attack civilians.
Arresting man accused of aiding Russia
The Ukrainian authorities arrested a man accused of helping Russia direct the missile strike that killed at least 10 people.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) claimed that they arrested a "Russian spy" over disclosing the position of the strike, which would not add up if the victims were civilians, as Russia would not need intelligence to target civilian infrastructure.
The Ukrainian narrative does not seem to be adding up, and the strikes on the hotel indicate the massive presence of Western troops in Ukraine as the West collectively tries to combat Russia through Kiev.