what we know about the Ukrainian strike that killed at least 63 Russian soldiers
FOCUS – Ukraine has admitted to being the author of the attack near Donetsk, citing for its part “400 dead”. Moscow accuses kyiv of using the US-supplied HIMARS rocket launcher.
By its murderous nature, the attack which hit the Russian forces on Monday January 2 could well represent a record since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Russia has acknowledged the death of 63 of its soldiers during an enemy strike near Donetsk, annexed territory in the east of the country.
These are the heaviest losses in a single attack admitted by Moscow since the beginning of the invasion. The Ukrainian forces initially mentioned 400 soldiers killed, before specifying that the balance sheet in “losseshuman rights was being established.
Outstanding communication from Moscow
Russia, until now, has only rarely given an assessment of its offensive or especially communicated on its losses. It is therefore a rare event that this press release from the Russian Ministry of Defense on Monday morning, acknowledging that 63 of its soldiers had been killed in the explosion of “four missiles“.
According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, these missiles hit “a temporary deployment centerof the Russian army in Makiivka, a town near Donetsk under the control of Russian separatists since 2014. Without indicating the date of the attack, the ministry still assured that it had shot down two of the six missiles fired.
Hundreds dead according to Ukraine, which confirms having carried out the strike
The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed in a statement on Monday evening that it had carried out the strike on New Year’s Eve. “Losses in terms of personnel for the occupants are being specified“, indicated the Ukrainian staff. “Up to 10 units of enemy military equipment of various types were destroyed and damagedsaid the General Staff.
Earlier in the day, the strategic communications department of the Ukrainian armed forces said that nearly 400 Russian soldiers had been killed in Makiivka. Without denying or confirming this figure, the general staff declared that a balance sheet of “losseshuman rights was being established.
Russian soldiers betrayed by their phones, sources say
Russian news agency TASS, citing a source within the Donetsk regional forces, said the servicemen were betrayed by the activity of their mobile phones.
Having detected a large number of devices connected through a local cellphone tower, the Ukrainians reportedly had confirmation of a gathering of soldiers at the scene. “The enemy, using the ECHELON reconnaissance complex, picked up cellular communications activity and the location of users“said the source.
A probable HIMARS shot
The Russian Defense Ministry has accused Ukraine of using HIMARS rockets, a weapon supplied by the United States to Ukrainian forces. On the web, several journalists have shared videos on which we recognize, by the power of the shot illuminating the night but also by the Christmas garlands which adorn it, a device resembling the famous rocket launcher provided by Washington to kyiv.
This one, mobile because mounted on a truck, is capable of precisely targeting targets 80 kilometers away.
Russian military command under fire from critics
The increasingly influential Russian war reporters themselves claimed that hundreds of people were killed in the attack. The announcement of these heavy losses immediately provoked criticism on the Russian side, with the military high command in Moscow being accused of not having learned any lessons from its past mistakes.
Former separatist leader Igor Girkin, better known by his pseudonym Strelkov and very familiar with the situation on the ground, notably accused officials of having stored ammunition in this unprotected building. “Ten months after the start of the war, it is dangerous and criminal to consider the enemy as a fool who sees nothingsaid Andrey Medvedev, Deputy Speaker of the Moscow City Legislative Assembly. Anger also gripped Alexey Sukonkin, an influential blogger in the breakaway region. “I can’t blame Ukraine. The real killer is the son of a bitch who made our fighters easy targets“, he said on his Telegram channel.
On social media, some have also accused Russian authorities of downplaying the death toll. “My God, who is going to believe the number 63? The building was completely destroyedwrote a Russian, Nina Vernykh, on the main Russian social network VKontakte.
On this social network, Russians were invited to collect clothes, medicines and materials for survivors. The governor of the Russian region of Samara, Dmitry Azarov, announced the opening of a telephone line for the relatives of the soldiers killed, among whom are his constituents.
Revenge of kyiv?
The announcement of this strike comes after a New Year marked by Russian bombardments on kyiv and other cities on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which left five people dead and dozens injured.
On Monday, kyiv again came under fire from Iranian-made drones but Ukrainian forces said the majority were shot down. In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, regional governor Oleg Synegoubov said the city and its region have again been targeted by Russian missiles.
In his address Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that his military has shot down more than 80 drones since the start of 2023.”In the near future, this number may increase“, did he declare.