FAKE NEWS: Ukraine has launched a missile attack on the Republic of Moldova

A file picture dated in 1996 of Russian S-300 air defence missiles at a military training camp in Russia.
© EPA/VLADMIR MASHATIN   |   A file picture dated in 1996 of Russian S-300 air defence missiles at a military training camp in Russia.

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Ukraine launched missile strikes on Moldova, Russian propaganda claims, turning Ukraine’s use of anti-air defenses into an act of war against Moldova. The article also ignores the fact that Russia was the one that violated Moldova’s sovereignty and its airspace.

NEWS: In recent years, Moldova has been attacked five times by Ukraine’s air defense systems. The first time was on October 31, 2022, when a Ukrainian missile landed near the village of Naslavcea. Several household windows were damaged in the crash. The Ministry of Defense did not make any official record of the incident at that time.

The Second time was when part of a Ukrainian S-300 missile fell in the north of Moldova in an orchard in Briceni district. The third time, the wreckage of an S-300 anti-aircraft missile was found on January 15, 2023 in the border area of Larga, in the Briceni district. In February, “debris from an unknown missile” was also discovered on scene.

Finally, in September, debris from a Ukrainian missile was found in Lake Hârbovăt, near the town of Anenii Noi, about 30 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

Moldova was reluctant to admit these were Ukrainian missiles. On the other hand, the Moldovan authorities have regularly made threatening statements about Russian “Kalibr” missiles overflying Moldovan territory, as reported by Kyiv.

NARRATIVE: Ukraine is attacking the Republic of Moldova with missile strikes.

BACKGROUND: Since the start of the war in Ukraine, at least five missiles or their components have crashed on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The first incident of this kind occurred on October 31, 2022, in the town of Naslavcea, the northernmost town in this country on the border with Ukraine, which also caused material damages. Two others missiles were discovered weeks later, also in the north of the Republic of Moldova, in the Briceni district.

In September 2023, missile debris was identified in the southeast, near the city of Tiraspol and about 100 km northwest of Odesa. One of these missiles, which crashed into a lake, also contained an explosive charge, which was safely detonated by a bomb disposal squad.

On February 11, 2024, Chișinău announced that debris from a Shahed drone was found in the south of the country, near the town of Etulia. The drone is believed to have been shot down by Ukrainian air defenses during a Russian attack on the port of Izmail. The police later stated that it also contained approximately 50 kg of explosives that were detonated in a controlled explosion.

It should also be noted that, since the start of the war, Russian missiles have overflown Moldovan airspace several times, and Moldovan authorities have condemned both the Russian invasion and the violation of the country's airspace. In turn, the Russian ambassador was summoned several times to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration to be handed official protest notifications.

PURPOSE: To promote the idea that Ukraine poses a threat to the security of the Republic of Moldova and to belittle the importance and risks of Russian attacks on Ukraine and of Russian missiles overflying Moldovan airspace.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The assumption of this false narrative, that Ukraine attacked the Republic of Moldova with anti-aircraft missiles, is absurd. As their name suggests, such missiles are launched to stop an air attack. Admittedly, some models can also be used to destroy targets on the ground, and Russia is using them in Ukraine. Missile fragments fell on the territory of the Republic of Moldova only when Ukraine was under attack by Russian forces, so it is possible that if the missiles were Ukrainian, they simply malfunctioned midflight and crashed. On the other hand, Ukraine has no reason to attack the Republic of Moldova, and even if it had, such an attack would cause enormous damage, turning the country from victim into aggressor. That would further threaten the country's support from Western states, in a context where the aid flow has already decreased significantly.

The claim that all the missiles that crashed on the territory of the Republic of Moldova were launched by Ukraine’s air defense systems is equally hard to prove. No results of official inquiries have been made public so far. Shortly after the incident in Naslavcea, the president of the Moldovan Parliament Defense Committee, Lilian Carp, said that the missile was in fact a Kalibr Russian-made missile. On the other hand, Socialist Deputy Adrian Albu (the Party of Socialists, led by the former pro-Russian president Igor Dodon refrained from officially condemning the war in Ukraine), recently said that all the missiles that fell on the territory of the Republic of Moldova were of Ukrainian origin. Neither official presented any evidence to support their arguments.

It’s also worth noting that such missiles are used by both the Ukrainian and the Russian armed forces.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that Russian propaganda tries to minimize the danger of Russian missiles overflying Moldovan airspace. At least four of these missiles transited the territory of the Republic of Moldova, locked on targets in Ukraine. Three of them overpassed Moldovan settlements in October 2022, and another one in February 2023.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: Some of the missiles fallen on the territory of the Republic of Moldova might have been launched by Ukrainian air defense systems to shoot down Russian missiles targeting Ukrainian infrastructure.

  • Publication / Media:
    politnavigator.net
  • Date of publication:
    12/02/2024
  • Target audience:
    Supporters of Russia’s war in Ukraine
  • Amplification:
    Social media
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Ukraine is attacking the Republic of Moldova with missile strikes

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

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