Severodonetsk: Deciphering News of the War in Ukraine

Unless the Ukrainians have a decisive victory or a Russian advance is too great to hide, news of the war follows a pattern of headlines:

Russians shell dozens of Ukrainian towns in the Donbas

Casualties rise as Russia makes incremental gains in east

From the New York Times “The ruined industrial city in eastern Ukraine fell after months of Russian bombardment and weeks of urban combat. Like Mariupol, it became emblematic of the savagery of the war.”

Read similar articles and learn the content rarely follows the headline. Search Google and try to find images of a ruined and severely shelled Severodonetsk. Well, here is one. Take this headline from WION – World Is One News with global headquarters in New Delhi.

Satellite images reveal widespread destruction in Ukrainian industrial city of Sievierodonetsk

“High-resolution images collected by Maxar Technologies over a period of 24 hours on Monday show damaged buildings from artillery shelling in downtown Severodonetsk and around a hospital. From a hole in the roof, to charred buildings, the images showcase how the area has been laid waste by constant shelling.”

Note: Several online media published the exact same display of images and commentary.

Well, let’s see. Here is the first image.

Satellite image shows destroyed buildings in Rubizhne, Ukraine, near Sievierodonetsk.

Oh, not Sievierodonetsk, but a village near Sievierodonetsk.

This same photo has appeared under other headlines, such as: The Washington Post, Severodonetsk defenders holding out under merciless shelling, mayor says

“Severodonetsk, an industrial hub, is key to Russia’s plan as its fall would open up the route to Kramatorsk, the main city of Donetsk. At least 70 per cent of Severodonetsk is reported to be under Russian control, though the Ukrainian forces are fighting back. Ukraine repelling Russian attacks. The regional governor, Serhiy Haidai said tough street battles were continuing with varying degrees of success. ‘The situation constantly changes, but the Ukrainians are repelling attacks,’ he said.”

Next image.

A 40-meter crater can be seen next to destroyed buildings.

Evidently, this is not the industrial city of Sievierodonetsk.

“Sievierodonetsk important for Putin. Russia seeks victory in Sievierodonetsk, which would give it full control of Luhansk province. When Vladimir Putin began his invasion on 24 February, he pledged to “liberate” the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk where were in separatist hands.”

Next image.

This image shows a field peppered with craters caused by artillery, northwest of Slovyansk

“Russian forces have been focused for weeks on seizing Sievierodonetsk, which was home to some 106,000 people before Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, but the Luhansk region’s governor said Ukrainian forces would not surrender the city.:

Next image.

This image shows active artillery shelling in the town of Bogorodichne, Ukraine, northwest of Slovyansk

Where are photos of Sievierodonetsk?

“Widespread destruction (of Sievierodonetsk?)”


This satellite image shows damaged buildings around a hospital in Sievierodonetsk, Ukraine

Wait a second!

(1) Where is the widespread destruction? I only see one possible bomb hit. Other dark spots are shadows.

(2) Is that really a hospital? The Red Cross is on top of vegetation. Has it been photoshopped? Note there is no parking lot nor cars parked by the “hospital.” Don’t people work there or visit?

CNN published the same image under the headline, “At least 2 hospitals hit by military strikes in Severodonetsk and Rubizhne, new satellite images show.” Does the image show a bombed hospital?

There must be some images of this heavily shelled Severodonetsk. Googled “heavily shelled Severodonetsk.”

Came up with the same previous image provided by Maxar Technologies, which showed destroyed buildings in Rubizhne, Ukraine near Severodonetsk. All other images were those of smoke rising over Severodonetsk. None of the images showed damage to the city.

Smoke rises during shelling of the city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine on May 21

Tried YouTube at, which featured a video of Ukraine: images of shelling over Severodonetsk | AFP

The YouTube video showed only some noise and smoke, no extensive damages

Washington Post

“Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk, the eastern city under continuous Russian bombardment, are holding their positions despite relentless shelling, and troops are “doing their utmost to defend the city,” its mayor, Oleksandr Stryuk, said Tuesday. The satellite images show fields full of artillery craters, city blocks reduced to rubble and a 130-foot bomb scar.

The Ukrainian government has said that about 90 percent of the buildings are destroyed.”

Press on the link The satellite images show and it will return to the articles – no images, that’s right, no images, and no “about 90 percent of the buildings are destroyed. ”


Western media, which tends to always degrade its adversaries, as long as they continue to be adversaries — Russia, China, Iran. Gaddafi Libya and not the post-Gaddafi Libya — report a one-sided view of the war. Other media, attempting to capture audience, sensationalize catastrophes. Obtaining credible reports of the war in Ukraine requires shuffling through several accounts and piecing them together to make a logical analysis. Undoubtedly, Severodonetsk suffered from shelling and had some serious, but not extensive damage. The Russians encircled the city, destroyed the bridges, and then entered the city, which the Ukraine army was not equipped to defend. After two weeks of retreating within the city, the remnants of the Ukrainian army left.

Dan Lieberman publishes commentaries on foreign policy, economics, and politics at  He is author of the non-fiction books A Third Party Can Succeed in America, Not until They Were Gone, Think Tanks of DC, The Artistry of a Dog, and a novel: The Victory (under a pen name, David L. McWellan). Read other articles by Dan.