Video published on social media Saturday shows parts of a Ukrainian tank factory outside of Zhytomyr — about 140 kilometers (about 85 miles) west of Kyiv — has been leveled after Russian military strikes at the complex.
The video, geolocated and its authenticity verified by CNN, surfaced initially on pro-Russian Telegram channels, which are using it to bolster claims that Russia is “demilitarizing” Ukraine.
While Russia has conducted military strikes on Ukrainian military positions during the invasion, CNN has identified a number of civilian complexes, apartment buildings, schools and markets across Ukraine that have been hit by the Russian military.
Zhytomyr has been the site of intense shelling in recent days.
What the video shows: In the clip, Ukrainian soldiers survey the damage at the factory and one appears to recount how he and others survived. Many of the buildings that once made up the Zhytomyr Armored Plant complex are leveled.
“Well, that’s what flew into us last night,” a soldier is heard saying as they walk through the bombed out complex.
His comments suggest the Ukrainian soldiers had taken refuge at the plant overnight.
“I want to show you something,” he said, walking down one of the roadways at the complex. “See how much the Russians love us?”
As he continues walking, more and more broken window panes are seen. Then, a destroyed building comes into view.
“To tell you the truth, we were really scared today,” the soldier said.
Reduced to rubble: The buildings that once stood in the eastern part of the complex are now mangled heaps of metal and concrete. The soldier continues walking, noting he’s passing by pieces of unassembled tanks.
Then, the sound of a jet can be heard. It gets louder then fades away as he nears the location where he believes the massive explosion that tore apart the complex happened.
“That’s where it hit,” he says. “We were standing here.”
Some context: The plant is part of the state-run Ukroboronprom defense conglomerate and was involved in making, refurbishing and modernizing armored vehicles, including tracked infantry and armored personnel carriers. According to Ukroboronprom, the plant also assembled other machinery for civilian purposes such as forestry.
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