Six Kyiv residents who posted shocking night-time footage of missiles flying through the air which quickly went viral could face up to eight years in prison if charged with breaking wartime censorship rules.
While in an age of social media saturation, it may seem natural to record and post something extraordinary happening outside your bedroom window, that is presently illegal in Ukraine, as six locals — including a locally famous Instagram model — are finding out.
Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said the Kyiv City Prosecutor’s Office have launched “comprehensive measures” to “establish all the circumstances of the crime and bring the guilty to justice” after footage showing the night-time sky of Kyiv during Tuesday’s “exceptional ” air raid was published online. Russian ‘hypersonic’ missiles and suicide drones were among the 18 incoming shot down in the raid, according to the Ukrainian government.
Footage of Ukrainian Air Defenses attempting to Intercept Russian Missiles over the Capital City of Kyiv. pic.twitter.com/D77pIYhXfq
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) May 16, 2023
The spectacular footage showing the night sky lit up by repeated flashes of anti-air defence missile launches quickly went viral and was featured in news reports around the globe. Yet the videos, taken on mobile phones and building security cameras, revealing the horrendous truth of air raids against a European capital city could see their creators jailed for up to eight years.
Sharing any information about the operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is a criminal offence under rules enacted under the state of martial law presently in force in the country, and the SBU claims the videos risk revealing the locations of the country’s anti-air defences to attackers. A statement by an SBU spokesman said: “The Security Service of Ukraine has established the identities of six residents of the capital who illegally disseminated information about the work of air defence forces during the massive Russian attack on Kyiv.
“On the night of May 16, they took unauthorized photos and videos of the work of Ukrainian air defence and posted relevant materials on social networks… The information obtained in this way could be used by the occupiers to adjust repeated airstrikes on the capital of Ukraine.”
The intelligence agency reminded citizens to not post images of military activity to social media, saying: “The Security Service once again emphasizes the prohibition of shooting and publishing video and photo materials regarding the activities of the Defense Forces, as well as the consequences of enemy shelling.
“The publication of such photo and video materials on the Internet is considered to be the correction of enemy fire [BBN: artillery spotting or forward observation] and is a crime punishable by law.”
The SBU said the computers and mobile phones of the accused were seized, and broadcast the videotaped confessions of a number of those involved. One woman giving a confession, identified by a Kyiv television news show as a “well known” Instagram model and ex-wife of an infamous cocaine dealer to the “Ukrainian elite” is seen dressed in a black outfit and standing inside what appears to be the headquarters of the SBU.
Inna Voronova, who subsequently decided to out herself as one of those involved tells the camera: “I did it without any malicious intent. At the moment, the security service of Ukraine has had a preventive conversation with me and explained the negative consequences of my careless act… I promise never to do it again.”
It is not presently clear whether the six who posted footage of the Kyiv air raid will, in fact, be charged under the government’s martial law powers, or whether the “preventive conversation” will end the matter and the threat is meant to discourage others. Breitbart London has contacted the SBU for confirmation and comment.