Russia’s defence ministry on Sunday said that 63 Russian soldiers have been killed in a Ukrainian New Year’s Eve attack on their quarter in a Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk province. Before this Ukraine’s defence ministry reported nearly 400 dead Russian soldiers in this attack.
Russia says that Ukraine fired rockets at a facility in the Donetsk region. A total of six rockets were fired by Ukraine. Out of these six rockets, the Russian defence ministry shot down two. Ammunition stored close to the facility exploded during the rocket strike which further added to the damage.
Footage surfaced online which showed a vocational college in the town of Makiivka in Donetsk, reduce to rubbles. Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed regional officer in the Moscow-controlled part of Donetsk, said that the vocational college had been hit by HIMARS rockets that were from the US.
He further added that the rocket hit at around midnight when the people in the area were celebrating the start of a new year.
Sources close to the Russian-installed Donetsk leadership revealed that the building had been used to harbour nearly 300,000 soldiers since the month of September.
Uncertainty about the number of casualties
Both Russia and Ukraine are providing the media with two different casualties numbers. Russian claims that only 63 people died in this incident while Ukraine claims 400 died.
Rybar, a Russian pro-war blogger claimed that more than 100 people were wounded in the strike and that the rubbles are yet to be cleared to find more survivors. He also said that about 600 people were present in the facility at the time of the attack. He also expressed anger regarding the heavy loss of soldiers.
Igor Girkin, a nationalist and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and then organise pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, said on Monday that “the number of dead and wounded runs into many hundreds”.
Archangel Spetznaz, another military blogger questioned “Who came up with the idea to place personnel in large numbers in one building, where even a fool understands that even if they hit with artillery, there will be many wounded or dead?”
All of these suggest that Russia has been lying about the number of soldiers it lost in this attack.