Russia on Wednesday reported the highest death toll from a New Year’s Eve attack targeting Russian soldiers in Makhivka, eastern Ukraine, which left 89 dead, prompting a fresh wave of criticism.
The number of casualties among the Russian ranks, initially estimated at 63, was revised upwards at 00:01 (23:01 Swiss) on January 1 after new bodies were found in the rubble of a building in Makhivka targeted by the Ukrainian strike. , after the transition to the new year, Russian General Sergei Tsevryokov said in a video message broadcast by his ministry.
According to him, the “main reason” for the strike, despite the ban on doing so, was the “massive use of mobile phones by the personnel”, which allowed this concentration of Russian soldiers to the Ukrainian forces.
Mr. Sevrioukov assured that “necessary measures are being taken to avoid such tragedies in the future” and that “those responsible will be held to account”.
It was the largest number of casualties in an attack acknowledged by Moscow since the offensive began in February, and comes after a series of embarrassing military setbacks on the ground.
According to Russian media, the victims were mobilized, and therefore non-professional soldiers.
The announcement of the high numbers did not fail to raise fresh criticism of the Russian military command, which had already been blamed for its “incompetence” by Russian war correspondents and commentators on Monday and Tuesday.
The boss of the RT channel, Margarita Simonyan, the front of Kremlin propaganda at international level, called for the names of Russian officials and “the extent of their responsibility” to be made public.
“It is time to understand that impunity does not lead to social harmony. Impunity leads to new crimes. Hence, public denial,” he wrote in a telegram.
Pro-Russian separatist leader Denis Bushilin praised the “heroism” of soldiers who survived the Ukrainian attack who “risked their lives” to “save their comrades” under the rubble. According to him, the deputy commander of the brigade was killed.
According to the Russian military, the attack was carried out using HIMARS missile systems, a weapon supplied to Ukraine by the United States, which makes it possible to strike behind enemy lines.
Ukrainian civil servants confirmed the strike and the Ukrainian military’s strategic communications department claimed a large number of Russian troops.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, given the destruction of the building at Makivka, “there is a realistic possibility that explosives were stored near the troop accommodation”.
In Russia, with officials often alert to military casualties in Ukraine, 200 people gathered in Samara (center) on Tuesday with the approval of authorities, where some of the slain soldiers mourned the dead in a traditional manner. ceremony
“It’s very difficult, scary. But we cannot break. Grief unites us,” said Ekaterina Kolodovkina, head of a group of soldiers’ wives who called for “revenge.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to respond publicly.
Attacks in Crimea
On the frontline in Ukraine, fighting continued on Wednesday.
Russian General Sergei Severyukov said his forces had destroyed several Ukrainian missile launchers at Drushkivka in the Donetsk region, causing heavy casualties after the attack on Makivka. Ukraine, for its part, suffered one death and the destruction of an ice rink.
The governor of the city of Sevastopol in annexed Crimea, Mikhail Rasvozhayev, said the Russian navy had repelled an attack by Ukrainian drones and shot down two of them.
On the Ukrainian side, civil servants announced bombings on Kramatorsk (east), Zaporizhia and Kherson (south) on Wednesday. Fighting continues, particularly in Bagmouth, a hot spot on the front in the east of the country.
According to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian military faces “systematic failures” of its operational capability in Ukraine.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp
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