Do a pair of photos that show completed repairs to a high-rise building in Ukraine only one year after it was damaged by a missile strike prove that the war in Ukraine is "fake"? No, that's not true: There is footage of the missile strike and photos of the aftermath from many angles. The strike to the apartment building at 6-A Lobanovsky Street in Kyiv, Ukraine, was well-documented. It happened on February 26, 2022, only three days after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Efforts to repair the building began in May 2022. By August, work to dismantle the section of the building above the damage using a tower crane had started, and then reconstruction began. The exterior of the building was covered by the end of 2022.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Estonia, Mariana Betsa, posted the before-and-after photos labeled "February 2022" and "February 2023" in a tweet (archived here) on February 21, 2023. The caption of the original tweet read, "Recovery of Ukraine in action #StopRussia #StandWithUkraine." On February 24, 2023, Stew Peters posted the same before-and-after photos in a tweet (archived here) with the caption, "This war is FAKE!" On February 26, 2023, a screenshot of Peters' tweet was posted on Instagram with the caption:
C'mon guys, who believes or watches anything that's on Telegram, I like watching Fox News and CNN and reading USA Today and NYPost everyday for all my news, plus I watch/read all the news stories shorts on *insert obsolete media outlet* - totally unrelated but I can't believe I don't see combat footage or good content of the war ever, how is this possible ⁉️
This is how that post appeared on Instagram at the time of this article's writing. Note: This post contains a screenshot of a February 24, 2023 tweet. The Twitter account @realstewpeters no longer shows a blue verification check. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine shows the blue check was present on February 24, 2023, but was gone by February 26, 2023.
(Image source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 18:19:44 2023 UTC)
Repairs as they occurred throughout a year
Twitter users added context to the Stew Peters tweet: A link to a February 26, 2022, tweet from Sky News has video clips from that day, showing the missile hitting the Kyiv apartment building from two different angles. The tweet on the breaking news is captioned:
Sky News has verified and located two videos which show a missile hitting an apartment block in the west of Kyiv. No deaths have been reported.
(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 18:50:49 2023 UTC)
On February 26, 2022, the Kyiv news website nashkyiv.ua published several articles about the missile strike on the apartment building. One article contained a statement from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine reporting, "Two Kyiv residents were killed and six seriously injured." Another article featured a photo of the damaged building with flames still burning inside. An embedded video of emergency crews working in the immediate aftermath of the strike shows the street littered with debris.
In the Lead Stories composite image below a 2015 Google Street View image of the building (left side) can be compared to the images of the damage to the building in the nashkyiv.ua article (both pictured below right).
(Image source: Lead Stories composite image made with Instant Street View and nashkyiv.ua screenshots taken on Tue Feb 28 20:08:09 2023 UTC)
A May 26, 2022, tweet (below) showed photos of the building's exterior and construction workers installing bracing inside the building. Initially the expense of the repairs was taken on by the residents of the building, but later funding from the city became available. The Google translation of the tweet's caption is:
Residents of a building destroyed by a rocket in Kyiv on February 26 are rebuilding it at their own expense
The residents of the high-rise building on Lobanovskyi Avenue have already spent more than 1.5 million hryvnias on clearing rubble and strengthening the destroyed floors.
On July 28, 2022, @denysdovhan tweeted a video they shot as a passenger in a car traveling on Lobanovskyi Street in Kyiv. Lead Stories reached out through Twitter messenger and Denys confirmed they took the video on July 26, 2022, days before posting it. In the video there is a large tower crane and it is possible to see the temporary shoring bracing holding up the floors and corner of the structure that was destroyed by the missile. Some of the exterior walls of the apartments above the missile strike are gone, evidence that the dismantling was underway.
(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 20:34:02 2023 UTC)
An August 18, 2022, article on the website The Village took a deep look at the cooperation between residents, engineers and Kyiv City State Administration (KMDA) to make and execute a plan for repairing the building. The article has close-up photos from inside the building looking out, which show the temporary bracing between the floors. Some residents were living in the building while the dismantling work was done. A photo (below) shows more progress on the dismantling. Olena Chumakova, the head of the residents' initiative, described the situation to The Village:
The state examination lasted a month, in the end it was decided that the upper floors should be dismantled. Dismantling began at the beginning of summer, so now we live partially on the construction site. Sometimes it's scary when you hear a wall fall, but you get used to it.
Dismantling is actually a very difficult job. The builders cut slabs and slowly lower everything down with cranes and take it away.
When all this is removed, new floors will be kicked out. In total, we will build 16 new apartments: eight were destroyed on four floors and another eight are being dismantled.
(Image source: the-village.com.ua screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 21:26:58 2023 UTC)
An October 15, 2022, tweet shows new construction starting to fill the area that had been damaged and floors above those that had been dismantled.
(Image source: Twitter screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 21:26:58 2023 UTC)
A photo in a December 13, 2022, article in vechirniy.kyiv.ua shows the exterior concrete almost complete. The article says:
Currently, a new monolithic reinforced concrete frame has been installed in the building at the place where a part of the wall was destroyed by a missile fragment. Brick partitions were also built anew, windows were installed and a new roof was installed.
A new elevator was installed in the high-rise, and two more were repaired. Builders restored plumbing, electricity and other communications. Finishing works are now being carried out.
(Image source: vechirniy.kyiv.ua screenshot taken on Tue Feb 28 21:26:58 2023 UTC)
Lead Stories debunked a similar claim in the past that dismissed war damage in multiple locations because more up-to-date photos showing repairs did not reveal the extent of the prior damage.
Numerous debunked false claims made by Stew Peters can be found here. Additional fact checks pertaining to the Russia/Ukraine war can be found here, also in Ukrainian.