Fact Check: Russia Does NOT Target Only Military Objects in Ukraine

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Russia Does NOT Target Only Military Objects in Ukraine Civil Too

Did Brandon Mitchell, a Canadian volunteer in Ukraine, say that Russia does not bomb bridges and railways because it targets only military objects and does Russia target only military objects? No, that's not true: In his interview with YouTube channel Lindy Beige, Mitchell says: "You know, the Russians have caused a lot of damage there, but there's some things that Russians never seem to do in the war that I would have thought. Why don't they just blow up all the bridges? Why don't they blow up all the railways and then they can."

The claim originated on Belarusian YouTube channel СБ ТВ (Belarus Today) and reappeared as a TikTok video (archived here) published by @zhivet_zhe_belarus on July 26, 2023. The text on the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) says:

Civil infrastructure was not blown up because the Russian Army is at war with ZSU (Armed Forces of Ukraine), not with ordinary Ukrainians. As opposed to you know who. Will not point fingers.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-07-28 at 2.06.04 PM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Jul 28 09:30:27 2023 UTC)

International organizations have documented numerous attacks on civil infrastructure around Ukraine including a Mariupol theatre, a Mariupol maternity house and children's hospital, massacres in Bucha and Irpin, and the bombing of Kramatorsk railway station among others.

The Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights chronicled the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It wrote:

It is even more evident, from reports of numerous official and unofficial sources, that tens of thousands of civilian objects have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine, including houses, multi-storey residential buildings, administrative buildings, penitentiary institutions, police stations, medical and education facilities, water stations and electricity systems, with disastrous direct and indirect effects on civilians in July, 2022.

In July 2022 the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine summed up the number of attacks on civil objects since the start of the invasion as 17,314 cases with only about 300 of those military targets.

A detailed map of civil infrastructure damage, including residential buildings, educational and medical establishments, objects of culture and art, was published by the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group.

Additionally, investigation team Bellingcat reported cluster munition use by Russia near schools and hospitals in the city of Kharkiv and in Okhtyrka kindergarten with children among the casualties.

Amnesty International human rights organization conducted an investigation that showed that Russian attacks on schools and educational establishments were not a military target.

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