Russians angry at commanders over Ukrainian strike that killed scores – Reuters

  • Russia says 63 of its soldiers wiped out on New Year’s Eve
  • Some Russian nationalists put Makiivka toll in the hundreds

MAKIIVKA, Russian-controlled Ukraine, Jan 3 (Reuters) — Russian nationalists and some lawmakers have demanded punishment for commanders they accused of ignoring dangers as anger grew more than the killing of dozens of Russian soldiers in one of the deadliest strikes of the Ukraine conflict.

In a rare disclosure, Russia’s defence ministry said 63 soldiers were killed within the Ukrainian hit on Brand new Year’s Event that destroyed a temporary barracks in a vocational college inside Makiivka, twin city associated with the Russian-occupied regional capital of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Ruskies critics said the soldiers were being housed alongside an ammunition dump in the site, which the particular Russian defence ministry said was hit by four rockets fired from U. S. -made HIMARS launchers.

TV footage showed a huge building reduced to rubble as cranes and bulldozers picked through concrete debris lying several feet deep.

Ukraine and some Russian nationalist bloggers place the Makiivka death cost in the hundreds, though pro-Russian officials say those estimates are exaggerated.

Rallies to commemorate the dead were held in several Russian cities, including Samara, where some came from, RIA Novosti news agency reported. Mourners laid flowers in the centre of Samara.

“I haven’t slept for three days, Samara hasn’t slept. We are usually constantly in touch with the wives of our guys. It’s very hard and scary. But we can’t be broken. Grief unites… We will not forgive, plus, definitely, victory will be ours, ” RIA quoted Yekaterina Kolotovkina, the representative of a women’s council at an army unit, as telling one of the rallies.

The strike on Makiivka came as Russia was launching what have become nightly waves of drone attacks on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated in his nighttime video address that the attacks were aimed at “exhausting our people, our anti-aircraft defences, our energy”.

Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian TV that 84 drones had been shot down in two Russian assaults since the particular New Year.

Ukraine’s armed forces are organising mobile groups in order to hunt them down, using jeeps along with other vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft machine guns and searchlights, Ihnat said.

Zelenskiy, whose forces rely heavily on weapons and other equipment provided by Western nations, kept separate phone calls on Tuesday with the Dutch plus British prime ministers.

“We agreed to intensify our efforts to bring victory closer this year already, ” he said on the Telegram messaging app associated with his call with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.


Russia’s Defence Ministry did not mention Makiivka in the daily bulletin on Wednesday but announced several offensives, including strikes launched by Russian Aerospace Forces that it mentioned had murdered more than 130 foreign mercenaries in Donetsk.

It said missile and air strikes launched at a “hardware concentration” near Druzhkivka railway station within Donetsk had killed “up to” 120 Ukrainian personnel, destroyed 2 HIMARS launchers and more compared to 800 rockets.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, has increasingly resorted to mass air attacks against Ukrainian cities after suffering defeats around the battlefield in the second half of 2022. It denies targeting civilians.

Ukrainian authorities said Russian federation had struck Ukraine-controlled parts of the particular Donetsk region on Monday, hitting the village associated with Yakovlivka, the particular city of Kramatorsk and destroying a good ice rink in Druzhkivka.

The governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk province, which along with neighbouring Donetsk forms the industrial Donbas region claimed by Moscow, said on Tuesday Ukrainian forces experienced made steady advances in the direction of Russian-held Svatove and Kreminna.

Elsewhere, Ukraine’s military General Staff said a Dec. 31 strike on a Russian-held area of the particular southern Kherson region got killed or injured some 500 European troops.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield accounts.

Reuters video footage showed the team associated with Ukrainian volunteers known as “Black Tulip” exhuming dead soldiers’ bodies close to the front line within the Donetsk area.

“Whenever you dig up a boy, you live through his nightmare and the horror he went through in the last moment, when this individual understood this is the end, ” said volunteer Oleksii Iukov, 37.


Russian military bloggers condemned the decision to store ammunition in the same creating in Makiivka that was being used because a barracks, despite commanders knowing it was within range of Ukrainian rockets.

Igor Girkin, a former commander of pro-Russian separatists in far eastern Ukraine plus now among the highest-profile European nationalist military bloggers, said hundreds have been killed or even wounded within the Dec. 31 strike. Military equipment stored at the particular site has been uncamouflaged, he or she said.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for episodes on Russian-held territory in Ukraine. Zelenskiy failed to mention the Makiivka strike within his daily speech upon Monday.

The fury in Russia extended to congress.

Grigory Karasin, a member from the Russian Senate and a previous deputy international minister, required vengeance against Ukraine and its NATO supporters but also “an exacting internal analysis”.

Sergei Mironov, a legislator and former chairman associated with Russia’s upper house of parliament, demanded criminal liability for the officials who acquired “allowed the concentration associated with military staff in an unprotected building” plus “all the particular higher authorities who did not provide the proper level of security”.

A little known patriotic group that will supports the particular widows of Russian soldiers called on Putin to order a large-scale mobilisation of millions of men and to close the borders to ensure victory inside Ukraine.

The particular Kremlin did not immediately respond in order to a request for comment on the appeal. Putin stated last month that there was no need for a further mobilisation on top of an additional 300, 000 men called up in September.

Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk inside Kyiv and by other Reuters bureaux; Writing by Michael Perry and Gareth Jones; Editing simply by Robert Birsel, Nick Macfie, Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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