Over 60 Russian troops killed in eastern Ukraine

Four missiles with high-explosive warhead strike forces.
The attack was on a temporary deployment.
Ukrainian forces believe the casualties are much higher.

MOSCOW: Sixty-three Russian soldiers were killed in eastern Ukraine when Kyiv forces attacked a camp using US-provided Himars rocket systems, the Russian Defense Ministry announced Monday.

Without claiming the attack, Ukraine’s military said the death toll from an attack in the city of Makiivka in the Moscow-controlled part of the eastern Donetsk region was much higher.

“As a result of the attack of four missiles with a high-explosive warhead on a temporary deployment point, 63 Russian servicemen were killed,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“All necessary assistance and support will be provided to the relatives and loved ones of the deceased servicemen,” the Defense Ministry said.

The statement was an extremely rare announcement of Russian losses in the Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry did not say when the attack took place, but Ukrainian forces are believed to have attacked as Russian troops were ringing in the New Year.

It was the biggest loss of life reported by the Russian side so far in a conflict that has dragged on since President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Russian troops on February 24 last year.

Kremlin critics accuse the Russian authorities of minimizing battlefield losses in Ukraine.

Former Russian separatist leader Igor Strelkov said he received a report about the attack around 1 a.m. on January 1 (2200 GMT on December 31).

He said that “one hundred” have been killed and wounded, adding that the Ukrainian army hit a facility housing mobilized troops.

Cool Russian strikes on New Year
Russian attacks in different parts of Ukraine on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day killed at least five people.

The Ukrainian capital came under attack again on Monday by Iranian-made drones, though Ukrainian forces claimed most were shot down by air defenses.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported an explosion in northeast Kyiv and said emergency services were dispatched.

“A wounded 19-year-old man was hospitalized in the Desnyanskyi district of the capital,” he said.

Authorities later said he was struck by falling debris.

Following the strikes, the Ukrenergo power company said the situation with the electricity supply in Kyiv was now “more complicated.”

Russia’s New Year’s attacks, which targeted the centers of big cities, show a change in tactics, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

“Russia no longer has military targets and is trying to kill as many civilians as possible and destroy more civilian facilities,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “A war to kill.”

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