Russia’s disinformation machine never tires of portraying Ukraine as an enemy. The latest manifestation of this narrative is to accuse Ukraine of involvement in a mysterious drone attack on Russian bases in Syria at Hmeimim and Tartus. Lenta.ru, Novaya Gazeta, RIAFan and other Russian media all carried this unsubstantiated accusation.

Website screenshot Novaya Gazeta

Website screebshot Lenta.ru

Website screenshot RIAFAN

Russian media cite the Defense Ministry’s General Staff Department of Construction and Development director Alexander Novikov, who said the kind of explosives the drones carried, are manufactured industrially, including in the Shostka Chemical Reagents Plant, a chemical production company located in northeastern Ukraine. They contained PETN pentaerythritol tetranitrate, a highly explosive compound from the nitroglycerin chemical family.

The Shostka Chemical Reagants Plant is not part Ukraine’s military industrial complex and has never produced military components, not even during the Soviet era. After the collapse of the USSR the Shostka plant was privatized.

Responding to StopFake’s inquiry about the Russian claim, Shostka Chemical Plant director Serhiy Buhakov said the company’s production is purely for peaceful purposes. Shostka has neither the personnel nor the raw materials to produce explosives. We make dyes, chemical indicators and compounds, Buhakov emphasized.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also dismissed Russia’s insinuation, calling it yet another attempt to assault Ukraine with disinformation, in order to draw away attention from Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, where Moscow is transferring vast quantities of weapons and munitions for Russian regular soldiers and pro-Moscow separatists.