‘NATO Command Center’ Taken Out in Ukraine?

“Don’t pick up the phone” might not be a formal agenda during meetings for the next Brics+ conference in South Africa comes August, 2023; but surely it will be a hot topic during coffee breaks! “So that you won’t be shouted down!”

Did Russian Kinzhal Missile Take Out ‘NATO Command Center’ in Ukraine? No major news outlets except Newsweek. Weird!

An inset photo of a Russian MiG-31 supersonic interceptor jet carrying a hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missile at speed of Mach 12

Newsweek by Yevgeny Kuklychev • March 31, 2023

A Russian precision strike supposedly destroyed an underground “NATO command center” in Ukraine earlier this month, with “dozens” of Western officers and military personnel purportedly killed in the “Kinzhal” (or “Dagger) missile attack.

At least, that is the claim circulating on some social media channels, including those known for spreading pro-Kremlin talking points and Russian propaganda.

In some cases the claim was supported by a photo of the supposed strike site, showing large-scale devastation and a burned-down building.

But is there any factual basis to the claim? Newsweek Misinformation Watch pulled at the threads—and found that most of the elements and sources contained in the claim do not stand up to scrutiny.

Several Twitter and Telegram posts, totaling hundreds of thousands of views in late March 2023, purported that a NATO HQ in Ukraine was destroyed, with “up to 300 people” killed in the strike.

“A terrifying strike of the Russian supersonic missile ‘Dagger’ at a depth of 130 meters on the NATO command center in Ukraine!”: Greek Pronews writes about the huge losses among NATO officers as a result of the missile attack,” one post read.

“40 corpses, dozens more bodies remain under the rubble – details of the Russian “retaliation strike” on the NATO command center have appeared,” wrote the account named “Russian Victory is Inevitable.”

“Greek media: dozens of NATO officers are buried in a secret bunker destroyed by “Daggers” in Ukraine. According to the Greek portal Pronews, received by the editors from “American sources,” another post said.

MiG-31 supersonic interceptor jet with Kinzhal (Dagger) missile at Mach 12

Most of the posts on Twitter and Telegram appeared to base the claim on one of two sources: An obscure Greek news website ProNews and an outlet called “The Intel Drop.” The trustworthiness of both sources is highly questionable, however.

TheIntelDrop describes itself as “an unaligned news source for the intelligence and financial community,” but the awkward wording, basic grammar mistakes (“oversite”) and strange terminology, such as “black propaganda,” raise suspicions, indicating that it likely was not written by a native English speaker.

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There is also no information about the news outlet’s background or ownership. All of the website affiliation data has been “redacted for privacy,” according to domain checker WhoIS.

It lists an American conspiracy theorist Gordon Duff among its board members; Duff was previously the chairman of “Veterans Today,” a fringe conspiracy and anti-Semitic outlet. Duff himself said “about 30% of what’s written on Veterans Today, is patently false.”

TheIntelDrop’s report cites a number of unverified Twitter accounts and the ProNews article as its source for the claim.

ProNews did indeed publish such an article, though references to it misleadingly suggest this was a recent development, whereas the article was in fact published earlier this month, on March 12.

MiG-31 carrying a hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missile at Mach 12

Back then the article was picked up and shared by pro-Russian users, including one claiming “NATO command and control HQ in #Kiev was struck by Kinzhal hypersonic missiles, many #Pentagon top officials perish in this strike.”

However, the Greek website, which has a history of publishing sensationalist and misleading material, such as one article claiming that Florida is seceding from the United States, offers very little in the way of evidence in the original story about the supposed strike.

“Dozens of dead NATO and Ukrainian officers,” the article opens, translated from Greek. “Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile with a target impact speed of Mach 12 (twelve times the speed of sound) managed to hit the Ukrainian-NATO joint command, control and communications center installed at a depth of 130 meters!”

The author simply states: “The Russians say they have pulled 40 dead from the wreckage of the underground headquarters so far, but most will never be recovered as they were buried by the debris.”

No specific sources or outlets are mentioned anywhere in the story, which instead proceeds to quote Ukrainian officials, who make no mention of NATO casualties.

While it is unclear what “Russian” sources ProNews based its reporting on, a large-scale shelling of Ukraine did indeed take place on the night of March 9, 2023, as Newsweek reported at the time.

The attack, which Russia called retaliation for a reported sabotage incident that took place days earlier in Russia’s border region of Bryanks, involved a wide array of Russian missiles, including the aforementioned Kinzhals.

“And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, who shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet roundabout; and I will set judgement before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgements.

“And I will set My jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee. They shall take away thy nose and thine ears, and thy remnant shall fall by the sword. They shall take thy sons and thy daughters, and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire” Ezekiel 23:24-25

~ by Joel Huan on April 24, 2023.

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