According to the Ukrainian army, pro-Russian military bloggers and former officials, an open strike in the Russian-occupied east of Ukraine appears to have killed a large number of Russian soldiers stationed near an ammunition depot.
According to both Ukrainian and pro-Russian sources, the strike took place after midnight on Sunday, New Year’s Day, at a vocational school housing Russian conscripts in Makievka, Donetsk region.
The attack prompted pro-Russian military bloggers to criticize Russian troops, who said they were deployed without protection and near a large cache of munitions that were said to have exploded when hit by Ukrainian HIMARS missiles. a school.
The Ukrainian army confirmed that 400 Russian soldiers were killed and 300 wounded, but did not directly acknowledge their role. CNN cannot independently confirm these numbers or the number of weapons struck. Some pro-Russian military bloggers also believe the number of dead and wounded could be in the hundreds.
On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry acknowledged the attack and said “63 Russian servicemen” were killed.
A video from the scene of the attack was widely circulated on Telegram, including on Ukraine’s official military channel. It shows a pile of smoking stone, almost without any part of the building.
“Greetings and congratulations” to the separatists and conscripts “brought to the occupied Makievka and stuck in the building of the vocational school,” the Strategic Communication Directorate of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on the Telegram page. “Santa Claus collected about 400 corpses [Russian soldiers] in bags”.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said that HIMARS missiles were used in the attack on Ukraine.
Daniil Bezsonov, a former official in the Russian-backed Donetsk administration, said via Telegram that “the high command still does not know the capabilities of this weapon.”
Igor Girkin, a Russian campaigner who blogs about the war on Telegram, confirmed that the building was almost completely destroyed by a second explosion of ammunition stores.
Girkin has long accused Russian generals of directing military operations far from the front. Girkin was previously the defense minister of the self-proclaimed, Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic and was convicted of mass murder by a Dutch court for his role in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine.
Another pro-Russian military blogger, Sergey Markov, said there was “gross negligence” in the Russian command.
Boris Rozhin, who blogs about the war under the pseudonym Colonelkassad, said that “incompetence and a lack of understanding of the war experience still remain a serious problem.”