At least 15 Ukrainian generals were killed following a single tactical airstrike, the Russian government media writes. According to the narrative, the Russian missile allegedly hit the House of Officers in downtown Vinnytsia, just as the Ukrainian generals were holding a briefing on the counter-offensive in Donbas. In fact, the airstrike killed 23 civilians, including children. The House of Officers center, which is not a military objective, was supposed to host a charity concert.
NEWS: “Lying under the ruins of the House of Officers in Vinnytsia in the wake of the Russian missile attack are not just representatives of the Main Intelligence Directorate in Ukraine, who were discussing new deliveries of weapons from the EU. The meeting of the Armed Forces command was dealing with the most painful issues for Ukraine – the catastrophic shortage of fighter jets.
After the failure in the USA, Ukrainian military and diplomats returned to the old idea about transporting Soviet MiGs from Poland. The details of the operation were discussed at the meeting of high-ranking officers of the Air Forces and the Main Intelligence Directorate in central Vinnytsia. The meeting was cut short by a “Kalibr” missile strike. Later, the Ukrainian propaganda spread fake news about the Russian forces shelling a residential area and an “innocent” building.
The details of this tactical strike in Vinnystia were discussed by journalist Roman Golovanov during a talk with the military expert of the “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper, Viktor Baranets, who argued that the Russian forces succeeded in wiping out the entire command of the Ukrainian Air Forces in one blow”.
As they are preparing a counter-offensive in Donbas, they were talking about providing air cover to this region.
According to the testimony of a surviving junior officer from the support group, the missile hit the impromptu military meeting, killing at least 15 generals.”
NARRATIVE: Russia killed at least 15 Ukrainian generals at Vinnytsia with a single missile, stopping the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Donbas.
BACKGROUND: Three Russian missiles hit a commercial building and the nearby parking lot in downtown Vinnytsia, in the proximity of the House of Officers. The building hosted offices and branches of small enterprises. Over 55 surrounding buildings were damaged in the attack. At least 23 people were killed, including three children. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the attack in Vinnytsia has once again proved that Russia must be recognized as a “terrorist state”. “No other state in the world poses such a high terrorist threat as Russia. No other state in the world believes it has a right to destroy peaceful cities and people with cruise and artillery missiles every single day”, Zelensky said. At the same time, the Russian Armed Forces claim they merely hit a military objective.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: In fact, the House of Officers in Vinnytsia is not a military objective, but a cultural center. On July 14, it was supposed to host a charity concert, featuring Ukrainian pop vocalist Roxolana. The event was promoted in advance on Ukrainian websites. The House of Officers was a genuine cultural center packed with people on weekends, including a large number of children taking part in various workshops and other activities.
Russia didn’t launch just one missile on Vinnytsia, but several. According to Ukrainian media, the regional military center in Vinnytsia is a few kilometers away from the House of Officers, and at the time of the airstrike there were no scheduled meetings of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in town, given its proximity to the separatist region of Transnistria, which is regarded as a threat.
The Russian state media provides no evidence of the missile actually hitting the presidium of a meeting, supposedly attended by 15 Ukrainian generals. The article quotes Viktor Baranets, who claims that, as a result of the attack, deliveries of fighter jets from Poland were brought to a halt, as was the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Donbas. In other words, bombing Vinnytsia is described as an achievement, an attempt to “save” the inhabitants in eastern and southern Ukraine from Kyiv’s counter-offensive. Baranets, however, is not an independent observer, and he doesn’t present any substantiated arguments. The website of the “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, where Baranets is a contributor, features the military expert’s credentials. A close look will reveal that Viktor Baranets is a Russian officer on reserve who was awarded several medals for “Soviet heroism”. In 2020, he was awarded the “journalist emeritus” title by the Russian government. In other words, Baranets takes the Kremlin’s propaganda narratives and dresses them in journalistic lingo, presenting them as “factual” expert analyses to the Russian-language media in ex-Soviet countries.
Veridica has debunked a number of propaganda narratives that justified the killing of civilians by Russian military on Ukraine’s territory. In April, the Russian media wrote that the massacre in Bucha was made up by “Ukrainian propaganda”, while in May it claimed that the Ukrainian army is bringing bodies to Lysychansk to simulate a new massacre. In the early phases of the invasion, the Russian media claimed Ukrainian forces destroyed the city of Mariupol, whereas Russia merely attacked those buildings in eastern Ukraine that hosted American laboratories manufacturing biological weapons.