A huge explosion near the city of Khmelnytskyi in Western Ukraine has been shared widely along with unverified claims that a “depleted uranium” storage facility was hit and reports that radiation levels were “rising” in the aftermath of the strike.
The claims that radiation is spreading have already been dismissed as false by the IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency). Additional concerns about the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including the Zaporizhzhia power plant currently under Russian control, as well as Moscow’s nuclear saber-rattling, have fueled fears of escalation throughout the 14-month Russia-Ukraine war.
According to information, the value of the ammunition destroyed in the Khmelnytsky ammunition depot is about 500 million dollars. pic.twitter.com/J0f0g4x5cx
— Spriter (@Spriter99880) May 13, 2023
According to a report by Newsweek, a video of a huge fireball appearing on the horizon has been shared widely on social media over the past 48 hours, with several reports in English, Ukrainian, and Russian media geolocating the blast to an area near Khmelnytskyi, the administrative center of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast, about 100 miles from Ukraine’s border with Moldova.
“Another shot from Khmelnytskyi shows huge mushroom cloud rising into the sky after Russian Aerospace Forces hit Ukrainian military objects in the city earlier in the morning,” said a post by Trollstoy that received nearly 230,000 views.
Another shot from Khmelnitsky shows huge mushroom cloud rising into the sky after Russian Aerospace Forces hit Ukrainian military objects in the city earlier in morning. pic.twitter.com/VCt4IGCki3
— Trollstoy (@Trollstoy88) May 13, 2023
“The Russians smoked a huge amount of American and European tax money in Ukraine’s Khmelnytskyi,” another post claimed.
The Russians smoked a huge amount of American and European tax money in Ukraine's Khmelnitsky. pic.twitter.com/KUjUXjE7Fy
— Hassan Mafi (@thatdayin1992) May 14, 2023
“Hearing rumors that there was a big stockpile of depleted uranium ammunition in the warehouses that got blown up. Pretty big oof if true,” tweeted Russians With Attitude, an account known to share pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Other accounts on Twitter and Telegram posted charts of purportedly “rising radiation levels” that, they claim, were observed in the hours following the strike. These were amplified by multiple reports in Russian media outlets.
“Further Khmelnitsky Depleted Uranium Update.
Excellent research by Gleb Georgievich Gerasimov.
A clear spike in gamma radiation was detected in Khmelnitsky on or about May 12th, with emission continuing to rise the following day and remaining at the… pic.twitter.com/8suutAFz1I
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) May 14, 2023
The Russian military at the time claimed it hit an ammunition depot and a hangar, while Ukraine said the targets were “critical infrastructure.” Newsweek, as a good mainstream media propaganda outlet for the ruling class went ahead and “fact checked” the claims. Obviously, they are going to tell us Russia is wrong.
According to an investigation by GeoConfirmed, a Twitter account that geolocates visual content from the Russia-Ukraine war, there is little to support the notion that what was hit was a facility where “depleted uranium shells” were stored.
13 MAY 2022: An Ukrainian ammunition depot exploded near Khmelnytskyi.
First the GeoLocations.
— GeoConfirmed (@GeoConfirmed) May 14, 2023
But Newsweek could not rule out the possibility that the “depleted uranium” shells provided by the United Kingdom had been stored at this facility, meaning a radioactive incident may have occurred.
It’s difficult to say how big or small of an incident this is and how it’ll play out. We are not getting much as far as real information regarding this incident in Khmelnytskyi.