Dozens of Russian soldiers were killed in a missile attack on the occupied Donetsk region, one of the deadliest attacks on Kremlin forces since the war began more than 10 months ago. .
The two sides dispute exactly how many soldiers were killed: Ukraine claimed up to 400 Russians were killed, while the Russian Defense Ministry put the number at 63.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Ukrainian forces fired six rockets from the HIMARS launch system, and two of them were shot down.
The attack, using US-supplied precision weapons that have proven crucial in helping Ukrainian forces strike key targets, has caused a new setback for Russia, which in the Recent months have been reeling from a Ukrainian counterattack.
Footage shared by Ukrainian officials, which Sky News geolocated for a vocational school in Makiivka, shows a flattened site covered in rubble.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claimed up to 400 Russians were killed “due to ‘careless handling of heating appliances'” and another 300 were injured.
However, sources close to the Russian-appointed leadership in the Donetsk region say the casualty reports have been exaggerated and that dozens of Russian recruits have been killed.
Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed official in the occupied areas of Donetsk, said the missile hit Makiivka two minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day.
Russian nationalist war bloggers boil with anger at the heavy loss of soldiers.
Igor Girkin, a former commander of the pro-Russian army in eastern Ukraine who has emerged as one of Russia’s most highly nationalist military bloggers, said the death toll was in the hundreds.
A Russian pro-war military blogger named Rybar, who has more than a million subscribers on Telegram, said more than 100 people were injured in the strike and that wreckage was still being cleared.
Ammunition was apparently stored in the building, which exploded when the barracks were attacked.
Meanwhile, Russia has deployed multiple drones that exploded in another nighttime attack on Ukraine, officials said on Monday, as the Kremlin signaled not to abandon its strategy of using bombing raids on the country’s energy infrastructure.
On Monday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said that 40 drones “went to Kyiv” overnight. According to the air defense, all of them were destroyed.