US-made missile goes astray in Ukraine, injuring civilians

An AGM-88B air-launched missile designed to destroy enemy radars apparently missed its target and hit a residential building in Kramatorsk in September.

US-made missile goes astray in Ukraine, injuring civilians

According to residents, the strike was carried out by an AGM-88B high-speed anti-radiation missile, which is launched from a fighter jet at ground targets such as radars and air defence systems, at around 6pm on September 26 in the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine.

US and Polish officials said this month that the Russian-designed missile that flew across Ukraine’s western border into Polish territory and killed two people was likely an air defence munition fired by Ukraine in response to a powerful Russian air attack.

A Ukrainian defence ministry spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the missile strike.

Also this month, the United States announced the delivery of two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Kiev, which fires missiles available in large numbers from Ukraine’s allies. Six more will be provided to Ukraine in the coming years.

In this case, a missile struck the top floor of a five-story Soviet-era apartment building, exploding on impact and making a distinct hole in the side of the building.

According to two U.S. defence officials, there was no indication that Russian forces in Ukraine had managed to capture or use HARM missiles since the United States began supplying these weapons.

Almost immediately after the explosion, images of debris and fragments posted on a local Ukrainian Telegram channel contained manufacturer numbers and placards indicating that the missile was a US-made AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, or HARM.

The next morning, reporters from The New York Times physically inspected a piece of debris at the scene, which showed an assembly number linking the debris to an electronic board unit used only in the AGM-88B, according to an online database that allows the public to search for US government property data.

The target of the AGM-88 missile that struck the apartment building in Kramatorsk is unclear, but it is possible that it failed to detect enemy radar and struck the apartment building after it ran out of fuel. The missile would continue to fly if it missed its original target and look for other enemy radar targets.

The missile is just one of many munitions sent by the United States and other countries providing billions of dollars worth of lethal aid to Ukraine. Since August, the Pentagon has announced four separate military aid packages to Kiev that include the AGM-88 missiles.

However, New York Times reporters were able to collect and identify distinct metal fragments left at the site of a previous strike in eastern Ukraine in September, providing insight into where billions of dollars of United States military aid to Ukraine sometimes goes.

“Three people were injured, they say. There were no fatalities. It hit a flat where no one lives, and people were hurt in the flat next door,” said Olga Vasilyevna, a resident of a house near where the missile landed. Her account is corroborated by eyewitnesses. “We have been hit in this neighbourhood before. Now we are afraid of every rustle.

Source: The New York Times

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