Pro-Kremlin German-language media disseminated Russian fakes on Kyiv children’s hospital attack

A cynical disinformation campaign involving Kremlin officials, Russian state media, and pro-Kremlin media in Europe has accompanied Russia’s missile attacks on Ukraine and the horrific consequences of the bombing of hospitals.

Since the Russian missile attack on the Kyiv children’s hospital “Okhmatdyt” on July 8, pro-Kremlin media in Germany have been spreading disinformation about the missile strike. 

Biased reports have manipulated this tragic event, which caused severe casualties and damage, in an effort to propagate Russian claims in Europe and shift the blame away from the Russian troops.

Eyewitness videos quickly refuted the official Russian channels’ initial claim that falling debris caused the damage to the children’s hospital. Then Russian propaganda switched to pushing the claim that it was an air defense missile. 

However, numerous fact-checkers, OSINT analysts, and the official investigation have proven that this was a Russian Kh-101 missile that directly hit the hospital. Bellingcat and GeoConfirmed provided detailed investigations proving this.

However, numerous pro-Russian news websites in Germany disseminate biased reports, exclusively presenting Russian versions of the Russian missile attacks on Ukraine. We analyzed the reports and revealed those who disseminated Russia’s debunked disinformation. 

Some of them reported only the Russian claim without citing the official version, Ukraine’s statements, or fact-checkers’ analysis.

Examples of Russian missile disinformation on pro-Russian German-language websites

We provide below a compilation of reports from previously analyzed German-language media that disseminated Russian narratives.

The first to spread Russia’s false claims on the missile attack on Kyiv children’s hospital to German-speaking audiences were DE.RT (the German version of the Russian state-owned media platform) and Sputnik, both under EU sanctions for spreading disinformation and supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Messages like theirs were disseminated and supported by pro-Kremlin outlets Uncut News, Aktuelle Nachrichten, Sott.net, Anti-Spiegel, Global Bridge, and Overton magazine.

“Russian attack on children’s hospital? “No, this is Ukrainian disinformation.”

Ukrainian cities such as Kiev are protected by Patriot anti-aircraft systems…For still unexplained reasons, a NATO anti-aircraft missile has landed on a children’s hospital, reports blogger Juri Podoljaka. Ukrainian air defense is the most dangerous for the civilian population.”

  • https://uncutnews.ch/russischer-angriff-auf-kinderkrankenhaus-nein-das-ist-ukrainische-desinformation/
  • https://aktuelle-nachrichten.app/russischer-angriff-auf-kinderkrankenhaus-nein-das-ist-ukrainische-desinformation/

“Ukrainian and Western media speak of a Russian war crime – but what really hit a children’s hospital in Kiev and other civilian objects on Monday morning? There is much to suggest that it was once again a “gloss achievement” of the Ukrainian air defense… As far as the Ochmadet Hospital in Kiev is concerned, there are two hypotheses. After the first, a Ukrainian NASAMS SAM followed the X-101 and did not catch up with it. As a result, the Ukrainian SAM hit the hospital.”

  • https://de.sott.net/article/36077-Kiew-und-das-Mediengeschrei-Wovon-wurde-das-Kinderkrankenhaus-wirklich-getroffen

“Western media report with many emotional images that Russia attacked a hospital in Kiev. However, the recordings of the incident show that the targeted rocket flying down is a US rocket that was probably fired by a Norwegian rocket launcher.”

  • https://anti-spiegel.ru/2024/das-krankenhaus-in-kiew-wurde-von-einer-us-rakete-getroffen/

“The damaged children’s hospital in Kiev – the picture shows great damage, but the real cause is controversial. While the Ukrainian side speaks of a Russian bombing of the children’s hospital – and this version was of course taken over by all Western media – the Russian side says that it was the result of a rocket shot down over the hospital. There will be no independent investigation, Ukraine has always prevented independent investigations, as one knows at the latest since the arson attack on the union building in Odessa.” 

  • https://globalbridge.ch/ein-vabanquespiel-mit-hoechsteinsatz-oder-stell-dir-vor-der-krieg-kommt-naeher-und-keinen-juckts/

“Strategic communication and cognitive warfare are flourishing before the NATO summit. Kiev claims it is a deliberate attack, Russia blames a crashed anti-aircraft missile. Since it is not known which missiles have overcome the anti-aircraft and hit targets directly or which were shot down, so that parts of them or the missiles of the air defense have caused damage, a neutral assessment is difficult. The Ukrainian government claims that the Russian armed forces targeted the children’s hospital with a rocket during the day. No child was killed, but seven children and nine adults were injured, two adults, including a doctor, died.

[Russian Defense Ministry direct quote with link]” 

  • https://overton-magazin.de/top-story/wurde-das-kinderkrankenhaus-okhmatdyt-absichtlich-von-russischen-truppen-angegriffen/

“Since it became known that a children’s hospital in Ukraine was hit by a rocket, the media and politicians alike have been raging in Germany. Immediately after the tragic event, someone was on the spot who claimed that the attack was deliberately carried out by the Russians. Verified? Of course, that wasn’t, in 2024 the review of a report will be overvalued anyway. Everything that was reported to the children’s hospital in Kiev has news value in the Western mainstream. Everything that comes from Moscow is the worst propaganda. This is so badly and amateurishly made that clearly-thinking people would actually have to stumble over it. But very few do, and that is the real tragedy of this propaganda battle.”

  • https://de.rt.com/meinung/211830-raketenangriff-auf-ukrainisches-kinderkrankenhaus-russe/

The media outlet Telepolis’ coverage deserves special attention. It did not support the Kremlin’s version, but it did not condemn the assaults on the children’s hospital and massive missile strikes at Ukraine either; instead, in an editorial article, it used this event to accuse the German politicians who advocated for additional air defense systems for Ukraine of ‘propaganda’.

Based on this, the media addressed the necessity for peace talks but did not specify any framework or pre-conditions. However, Putin’s recent ‘proposal’ for Ukraine was defined as a demand for the capitulation and surrender of new territories. It also omitted the fact that peace efforts are underway with the Global Peace Summit held in Switzerland in June.

The article underlined that there were two people killed in the strike in Kyiv and compared them to sixteen victims in the Gaza school strike, accusing the West of ‘double standards’. Is it an attempt to establish a ‘standard’ for the number of deaths required to condemn the perpetrators and support defense capabilities?

“After the impact of a Russian cruise missile near a children’s hospital in Kiev, the horror is great. In Germany, several politicians and lobbyists demanded increased arms deliveries to Ukraine. The smoke of the impact had not yet been warped, the rubble had not been put away for a long time, then the debate sank back into morality and propaganda.

The aggressiveness of the debate, which is partly specifically aimed at discrediting any alternative or flanking to further military support for Ukraine, at the same time obstructs a realistic view of the Ukrainian and pan-European perspective of the conflict.

PS: According to information on site, two people died in Russia’s attack on the Ochmatdyt children’s hospital in Kiev.

PPS: According to information on site, 16 people were killed in an Israeli attack on a school in Gaza.”

  • https://www.telepolis.de/features/Angriff-auf-Kinderklinik-in-Kiew-Warum-dieser-Luftschlag-keine-Konsequenzen-haben-wird-9795530.html

Jackson Hinkle, a political activist who has appeared on Russian state propaganda media, was among the first X users who made the incorrect claim that the missile was US-made. We should mention that Hinkle has been banned from several social media platforms for spreading fake news.

The independent investigative team Belingcat provided detailed analysis that debunks these false claims. The report includes comparisons of screenshots and pictures, as well as photos of missile remnants at the attack site.

The dissemination of disinformation by pro-Kremlin media in France not only distorts the reality of the tragic event, but also exacerbates the suffering of those affected by the attack.

The missile strike on the children’s hospital in Kyiv showed once again that Russian military operations are regularly backed by disinformation efforts and the spread of false versions of events. Thus, it proves once again that such hybrid attacks require high vigilance and prompt counteraction to disinformation in crisis situations.

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