Does a TV interview with international affairs analyst Gilbert Doctorow prove that a Russian hypersonic missile "killed 200 NATO generals, including at least 20 or 30 high-ranking American officers"? No, that's not true: Doctorow doesn't offer any evidence to support his assertion other than an indefinite reference to "The Russians." The U.S. Department of Defense responded to this with: "This is completely false."
The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) on April 23, 2023. The same video also appeared on Facebook on April 25, 2023. The heading above the video says:
Have you read about that in the news two weeks ago? The Russians, with a Kinzhou [Kinzhal] missile hypersonic, killed 200 NATO generals, including at least 20 or 30 high-ranking American officers
This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:
(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Apr 27 15:06:20 2023 UTC)
The video features an interview on Iran's Press TV with Doctorow, who has been flagged by the European Union-funded European Platform for Democratic Elections website under "Politically Biased Election Observers." About 40 seconds into the clip, he said:
Two weeks ago, the Russians with a Kinzhal missile, hypersonic, destroyed an underground bunker near the Lviv [region]. They killed 200 NATO generals, including at least 20 or 30 high-ranking American officers. Have you read about that in the news? Of course, you haven't.
At the 2:40 mark of the interview, Doctorow recounted the story with this vague attribution:
The Russians again yesterday announced very discreetly that 200 of those people killed were generals and high NATO officers.
The Russian announcement was so "discreet" that a Google News search found no major news organizations reporting a deadly missile strike killing NATO generals or U.S. officers.
While the exact date of the Press TV interview is unclear, it appears to have followed a wide-ranging Russian missile attack on Ukraine on March 9, 2023. The barrage included Moscow's first use of hypersonic missiles during the war.
In an April 27, 2023, email to Lead Stories, U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz provided this response to the claims made by Doctorow:
All these statements are false. Russia enjoys creating disinformation.
Lead Stories previously debunked a similar claim, that Russia bombed a secret NATO bunker.
Other Lead Stories fact checks about the war in Ukraine can be found here.