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War in Ukraine, Bakhmut. A laser-guided missile killed a volunteer. New York Times Recording and Findings

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American volunteer Pete Reed, who was killed in an attack on a relief group in Bakhmut, was the victim of a targeted Russian anti-tank missile attack, the New York Times reported. They drew such conclusions after analyzing the recording they had accessed. It shows the moment of the attack, it shows a group of volunteers, an incoming missile, and then a strong explosion.

Volunteer, former U.S. Marine Pete Reed came to Bachmut with a team of volunteers. Bakhmut is a frontline city – it is in Ukrainian hands, but it is constantly shelled by Russian invaders. Volunteers wanted to support civilians who stayed in besieged Bakhmut.

Ukraine. BakhmutMarek M. Berezowski/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

On February 2, they helped one of them. According to the American newspaper “New York Times”, after about a minute from the moment they started to treat a person in need of help, their group was attacked. Pete Reed was killed and several of his colleagues, including a volunteer from Norway, were injured.

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The surviving volunteers initially thought the attack was part of massive Russian gunfire, but a frame-by-frame analysis of the NYT-provided video showed that Reed was killed in a deliberate attack, almost certainly by Russian forces.

Close-up footage. The missile flies in, there is an explosion

It is impossible to fully determine whether the Russians knew that the group consisted of humanitarian workers, notes the New York Times. He adds that the group’s vehicles bore markings that should have made it clear to the Russians that they were targeting volunteers – one of the cars had a red cross mark on it, and the type of weapon used in the attack – a laser-guided anti-tank missile – is used when the operator sees and selects the target of the attack .

In this case, the target was an unmarked white Mercedes van. While the volunteers were not unarmed, one of them was wearing military camouflage clothing.

Footage posted on the New York Times website shows Reed and a group of other volunteers standing next to a white car they were using to transport relief supplies. A bullet flying parallel to the ground will hit the vehicle directly, destroying it and killing Reed.

A sequence of three shots of the incoming missile and explosion was tweeted by New York Times journalist Malachy Browne, a co-author of the article.

Laser-guided anti-tank missile

The recording was recorded on the mobile phone of Erko Laidinen, an Estonian volunteer from the organization Frontline Medics, who was moving behind the group in which Reed was. Laidinen said the camera in his car also recorded a second missile attack aimed at another vehicle, but in this case the missile missed.

According to the American daily, the available recording probably shows the Kornet anti-tank laser-guided missile, which has a range of about five kilometers. It added that the volunteers were near the front line.

Journalists from “NYT” spoke to a volunteer named Roma, who reported that there were no military units in the vicinity. He also said that one of the vehicles was clearly marked as an ambulance.

Destruction in BakhmutReuters/Press office of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

“Experts said the type of weapon used should allow an attacker to identify the nature of the target,” noted the American daily.

“Potential War Crime”

Marc Garlasco, a war crimes expert who trains Ukrainian groups investigating similar crimes, commented that “the operator is expected to [wyrzutni rakietowej – przyp. red.] he will have the ability to tell the difference between a medical worker and a soldier.” Garlasco added that the incident required further investigation, but said it was “a potential war crime” on the face of it.

Bakhmut, an industrial city in the Donetsk region, was inhabited by about 70,000 people before the full-scale armed invasion. Since last summer, it has been the target of intense Russian shelling. In recent weeks, Russian troops have been approaching the encirclement of the city. On Monday, the Ukrainian military announced that it would no longer allow humanitarian groups to enter the city.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA

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