In one of the deadliest single strikes against Russian forces in Ukraine since the war began, at least 63 Russian soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian rocket strike on a building in the Moscow-controlled part of Donetsk province.
The Ukrainian attack on a vocational college in the town of Makiivka came on New Year’s Eve. The Russians confirmed 63 casualties even though Kyiv claimed that as many as 400 Russian soldiers had been killed in the strike made using four US-supplied HIMARS rockets.
The Strategic Communications Directorate of Ukraine’s Armed Forces claimed that about 300 Russian soldiers were wounded, a claim that could not be independently verified.
Since September this year, the college was being used as a rallying point for Russian troops before they progressed deeper into Ukrainian territory. Russian officials said that the rockets that struck the college came as people in the region celebrated the start of the new year.
Moscow’s admission was a rare admission of its losses in Ukraine, considering the Kremlin has often been accused of trying to cover up battlefield casualties.
The Russian defence ministry said that full assistance and support would be provided to the families and friends of the dead servicemen.
Meanwhile, Russia has stepped up its drone strikes on Ukraine, especially energy and water infrastructure facilities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ‘energy terrorism’. Russian aerial bombardments have left many people without heat amid freezing temperatures.
According to the Ukrainians, Russia is ‘weaponizing winter’ to demoralize them. Sunday’s bombing in the town of Makiivka could see a strong Kremlin retaliation.