Dozens of Russian recruits were killed in a Ukrainian strike in Donetsk region – source

Jan 2 (Reuters) – Dozens of Russian recruits were killed in a Ukrainian New Year attack on their quarters in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk province, a source close to the Russian-appointed leadership said on Monday.

Footage posted online, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed a building believed to be a vocational college in the mining town of Makeevka reduced to a field of smoldering rubble.

The Donetsk source, who declined to be named, said: “According to my information, so far less than 100 have been killed.”

Ukraine’s defense ministry said around 400 Russians had been killed.

“What is being reported is greatly exaggerated. Fifty-eight wounded were brought in in one night, which is a lot for a normal day and not a lot if the reports of hundreds killed are to be believed. It was a site for mobilized Russian recruits.”

Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield account.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In its daily report on Sunday, it said it had destroyed seven HIMARS missiles fired by Ukrainian forces, including near Makeevka.

Since September, Russia has mobilized at least 300,000 troops and sent them to support its faltering military campaign in Ukraine.


Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed regional official in the Moscow-controlled parts of Donetsk region, said the vocational school was hits by US-made HIMARS missiles around midnight as people in the region were about to celebrate the start of the New Year.

“There was a massive strike on the vocational high school by American MLRS HIMARS,” Bezsonov said on the Telegram messaging app. “There are dead and wounded, their exact number is not yet known. The building itself is badly damaged.”

Igor Girkin, a nationalist and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and then organize pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, said in a Telegram post at 09:08 GMT on Monday , that “the number of killed and wounded runs into many hundreds.”

Girkin, who has been a vocal critic of Russia’s military failures in Ukraine, said the ammunition was stored in the same building where the recruits were housed.

“This is not the only such (extremely dense) deployment of personnel and equipment in the strike zone. [range] of HIMARS missiles,” he wrote. “And – yes – this is not the first such case.”

Reuters report; Writing by Lydia Kelly, Ron Popeski and Kevin Liffey Editing by Nick Zieminski and Garrett Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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