Misplaced drone video over Donbas (videos-photos)

Analyzing video footage of an alleged Ukrainian bombing of Donetsk-area village

Last week, officials of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) accused Ukrainian forces of using a drone to carry out attacks on the settlement of Mineralne, located in non-government-controlled territory north of Donetsk city. DNR officials claimed to down a Ukrainian Phantom-4 drone and recover a video of a bombing run on a flash card. They shared the alleged video on a DNR Telegram channel and a number of pro-Russian and Russian-led separatist media outlets.

However, the video was not shot in Mineralne, as claimed.

Geolocation of footage

Despite the fact that DNR officials said that this footage was filmed in Mineralne — located near the frontline, east of Avdiivka and north of Donetsk — it was actually filmed over 20 kilometers to the southwest over the settlement of Staromykhailivka. Both Mineralne and Staromykhailivka are in non-government-controlled territory with frequent Ukrainian military activity nearby.

DNR officials claimed that a civilian was injured in Mineralne as a result of a Ukrainian drone dropping an explosive device onto the town. This incident may have occurred, but it is not in the footage published by the DNR, which took place in an area right on the conflict’s frontline. Below, a map courtesy of LiveUAMap shows the approximate dividing line between government and non-government-controlled (shaded red) territory.

Bombing run

The alleged Ukrainian drone attack in Staromykhailivka has been previously reported on by pro-Russian and Russian-led separatist outlets, including from the “DNR” Militia Press Service and Patrick Lancaster. Video reports from Staromykhailivka surfaced on November 3, showing the aftermath of a previous alleged drone attack, along with footage showing the aftermath of another explosive device being dropped by a drone in the village.

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