The Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that 63 Russian soldiers were killed by a Ukrainian strike on a facility in the eastern Donetsk region where military personnel were stationed. Ukrainian forces fired six rockets from a HIMARS launch system and two of them were shot down, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.
The strike, using a US-supplied precision weapon that proved essential in enabling Ukrainian forces to hit key targets, caused yet another setback for Russia, which in recent months has been rocked by a Ukrainian counter-offensive.
The Ukrainian military did not directly confirm the strike, but tacitly acknowledged it. The Strategic Communications Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed on Sunday that some 400 mobilized Russian soldiers were killed in a vocational school building in Makiivka and around 300 others were injured. This claim could not be independently verified. The Russian press release indicates that the strike occurred “in the Makiivka region” and does not mention the vocational school.
Meanwhile, Russia deployed several explosive drones in another nighttime attack on Ukraine, officials said Monday, as the Kremlin signaled no letup in its strategy of using bombings to target the country. country’s energy infrastructure and exhaust Ukrainian resistance to its invasion.
The dam 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 towards Kyiv” overnight. All were destroyed, according to the Air Defense Forces.
Klitschko said 22 drones were destroyed over Kyiv, three in Kyiv’s outlying region and 15 over neighboring provinces.
Energy infrastructure was damaged as a result of the attack and an explosion occurred in one area of the city, the mayor said. It was not immediately clear whether this was caused by drones or other ordnance. An injured 19-year-old man was hospitalized, Klitschko added, and emergency power cuts were underway in the capital.
In Kyiv’s outlying region, a “critical infrastructure object” and residential buildings were hit, Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said.
Russia has carried out airstrikes on Ukraine’s electricity and water supply almost every week since October.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of “energy terrorism” as aerial bombardment has left many people without heating in freezing temperatures. Ukrainian officials say Moscow is “weaponizing winter” in its effort to demoralize the Ukrainian resistance.
Ukraine uses sophisticated weapons supplied by the West to shoot down Russian missiles and drones, as well as to send artillery fire into areas of the country under Russian control.
The full-scale invasion of Moscow on February 24 went awry, putting pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin as his ground forces struggle to hold their ground and advance. He said in his New Year’s address to the nation that 2022 was “a year of difficult and necessary decisions”.
Putin insists he had no choice but to send troops to Ukraine as it threatened Russia’s security – a claim condemned by the West, which says Moscow bears full responsibility of the war.
Russia currently observes public holidays until January 8.
Drones, missiles and artillery shells launched by Russian forces have also hit areas across Ukraine.
Five people were injured Monday morning in the shelling of a Ukrainian-controlled area in the southern region of Kherson, its Ukrainian governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Telegram.
Russian forces attacked the town of Beryslav, the official said, firing into a local market, likely from a tank. Three of the injured are in serious condition and are being evacuated to Kherson, Yanushevich said.
Seven drones were shot down over the southern Mykolaiv region, according to Governor Vitali Kim, and three more were shot down in the southeast Dnipropetrovsk region, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.
In the Dnipropetrovsk region, a missile was also destroyed, according to Reznichenko. He said the region’s energy infrastructure was targeted.
The Ukrainian Air Force Command reported on Monday that 39 Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones were shot down overnight, along with two Russian-made Orlan drones and an X-59 missile.
“We remain strong,” tweeted the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
A withering New Year’s Eve assault killed at least four civilians across the country, Ukrainian authorities reported, and injured dozens. The fourth victim, a 46-year-old Kyiv resident, died in a hospital on Monday morning, Klitschko said.
Multiple explosions rocked the capital and other parts of Ukraine on Saturday and overnight. The strikes came 36 hours after widespread missile attacks Russia launched on Thursday to damage energy infrastructure, and the unusually quick follow-up has alarmed Ukrainian officials.
In Russia, a Ukrainian drone hit an energy facility in the Bryansk region on the border with Ukraine, Bryansk regional governor Alexander Bogomaz reported Monday morning. As a result, a village was left without electricity, he said.
Follow AP coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
Felipe Dana, Associated Press
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