Scores of Russian soldiers were killed when Ukrainian missiles struck a building in the occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine over the weekend, one of the deadliest days for the Russian military since the war began more than 10 months ago.
“The Kiev regime delivered a strike, firing six projectiles from the U.S.-made HIMARS multiple rocket launcher on a Russian unit near Makeyevka,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said two rockets were shot down but four slammed into the building and surrounding area. The ministry said 63 service members died in the attack, although details remained sketchy. Dmitry Azarov, governor of Russia’s Samara region, said an unspecified number of civilians were among the killed and wounded.
Ukrainian authorities did not claim responsibility for the strike but estimated the death toll at nearly 400, sarcastically blaming “careless handling of heating devices, neglect of security measures, smoking in an unspecified place.”
Igor Strelkov, a Russian military blogger and former defense minister for the breakaway region, said on Telegram that the building was almost leveled after ammunition stored in the same building exploded.
“Almost all the military equipment standing next to the building without the slightest sign of camouflage was also destroyed,” he wrote. “Many people are listed as missing under the rubble.”
Strelkov also noted that Russian officers “prefer to stay further from the location of the trusted troops – out of the range of the enemy’s missiles.”
Daniil Bezsonov, an official with the Russian-appointed administration in Donetsk, called for punishment of officers who ordered a large number of troops to be stationed at the facility.
KYIV RESIDENTS RING IN NEW YEAR AMID ATTACKS: Zelenskyy says Ukraine will not forgive: Updates
►The next Ukraine-EU summit will be held Feb. 3 in Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office said Monday. Topics are expected to include the EU’s further support for Ukraine and an assessment of Ukraine’s progress toward membership in the bloc.
►Russian officials claim to have shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching the Russian city of Voronezh, almost 400 miles from the Ukraine border. No damage or injuries were reported, the regional government said in a statement.
►A Ukrainian drone struck an energy facility in the Bryansk region of Russia along the Ukraine border, Bryansk regional governor Alexander Bogomaz said Monday. A village was left without power, he said.
EU leader pledges support for Ukraine through winterEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke by phone Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pledging to soon begin disbursing $18 billion in aid in monthly payments. She added that the EU would support Ukraine through the winter with generators, light bulbs, shelters, school buses and other necessities.
“I conveyed my wholehearted support and best wishes for 2023 to the Ukrainian people,” she said in a social media post. “The EU stands by you, for as long as it takes. We support your heroic struggle. A fight for freedom and against brutal aggression.”
Kyiv claims destruction of 40 Russian drones Russia deployed multiple exploding drones in another nighttime attack on Ukraine, officials said Monday, as the Kremlin signaled no letup in its strategy of using bombardment to target the country’s energy infrastructure and wear down Ukrainian resistance.
The barrage was the latest in a series of relentless year-end attacks, including one that killed three civilians on New Year’s Eve.
On Monday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 40 drones “headed for Kyiv” overnight. All of them were destroyed, according to air defense forces.
Contributing: The Associated Press