Russia claims killing over 600 Ukrainian servicemen

DM Monitoring

MOSCOW: Ukraine has labelled a Russian claim that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in an attack “propaganda”.
Moscow claimed, without providing any evidence, that a “mass missile strike” in the eastern city of Kramatorsk had killed more than 600 Ukrainian forces.
It said it was in retaliation for a Ukrainian attack on a Russian base that killed dozens of Russian soldiers on New Year’s Day. But the Ukrainian military says this is untrue. “This is another piece of Russian propaganda,” Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the Ukrainian army, told the BBC.
Russia’s defence ministry said it had killed more than 600 Ukrainian servicemen in a strike on buildings temporarily housing Ukrainian forces. More than 1,300 Ukrainian troops were housed in two buildings, Moscow said.
It called the attacks a “retaliatory strike” to avenge the deaths of 89 Russian troops killed in Makiivka.
Ukraine says as many as 400 people were killed or wounded at Makiivka, while numbers into the hundreds have been given by Russian nationalists on social media.
Moscow is yet to offer any proof of Russia’s claim to have killed hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.
On Saturday, journalists from the AFP news agency in Kramatorsk, which is located in the eastern region of Donetsk, heard at least four explosions before midnight.
There was further shelling in various parts of Ukraine overnight after the end of what Russian President Vladimir Putin said was a 36-hour ceasefire by Russian forces so Orthodox Christians could celebrate Christmas. Evidence suggests this so-called ceasefire was not adhered to by Moscow. Ukrainian officials said at least one person was killed in the Kharkiv region in the north-east.
Explosions were also reported in the southern cities of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol. Russia’s defence ministry said that Ukraine had returned 50 captured Russian soldiers after negotiations. Kyiv confirmed that it had received the same amount of soldiers in return from Russia.
Days earlier, the Russian ministry of defence claimed the Ukrainians hit a temporary military headquarters in Makiivka.
One video of the aftermath shows a building totally destroyed by the attack. Commenters on social media quickly identified it as Vocational School No 19.
Searching for that name online threw up a photograph that we compared with a satellite image of the building at the attack site (prior to its destruction) to find a match.
No evidence is available pointing to large amounts of ammunition having been stored in the building.
But in a tweet the UK ministry of defence said this scenario was possible “given the extent of the damage” to the site.
The Russian authorities say that a Himars missile system, provided to Ukraine by the United States, was used in the attack.
Shortly after the strike, the Ukrainian defence ministry published a tweet showing a missile launch, with the single word of text: “Surprise”.
Himars – the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – is a missile launcher mounted on a five-tonne truck which can fire six guided missiles in quick succession.
The missiles supplied to Ukraine have a range of up to 50 miles (80 km), which is over twice the range of the howitzers which the US has previously given to Ukraine.
The US has committed to supplying Ukraine with 38 of these systems, and it’s been reported that 20 have been delivered since the start of the conflict.