Hundreds of Russian mobilised troops were killed in a Ukrainian HIMARS strike on a barracks in Russian-occupied Makiivka in the eastern Donbas region, minutes before midnight on December 31.
The attack happened as Russian missiles and drones rained down on Kyiv, Ukraine at the exact moment Russian president Vladimir Putin was delivering his televised New Year address.
What makes the revelation more stunning is that both armies have admitted to the deaths, a rare occurrence since the invasion began in February 2022.
While Ukraine's military command puts the number of Russian deaths to 400, with 300 wounded, reports in Moscow suggested lower figures but do admit to a major loss of life, Daily Mail reports.
This is the highest number of killings recorded by Russia's army in one attack, since the start of the invasion on February 24, 2022.
The report also stated that Russian commanders were among those killed.
Ukrainian blogger, Anatoly Shariy, who is also a staunch Russian supporter,
posted in dismay: 'There are SEVERAL HUNDRED killed in Makiivka.'
He added with sarcasm: 'Someone smart put them all together in one place.'
Russian pro-war sources said two HIMARS missile strikes hit the barracks in Makiivka, while the Moscow-installed administration of the region in Ukraine said on Sunday, that at least 25 rockets were fired at the region overnight on New Year's Eve.
In dramatic video posted online from the night of the attack, a family is seen watching Putin's address on a smartphone as they prepare to eat a traditional New Year meal, minutes before midnight.
A woman is on the balcony of her residential block and returns screaming in terror as an incoming attack targets a building nearby, which was later revealed to be a vocational school that was turned into a barracks for Russian forces.
Also, a Ukrainian video showed a soldier in a festive Santa hat as a HIMARS missile is launched around the time of the Makiivka strike. The HIMARS rocket system behind him had been decorated with Christmas lights.
HIMARS - which stands for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System - is a US-made launcher which can fire six guided missiles.
“According to a number of sources, we can talk about 50 to 70 people [dead] at the moment. The building is completely destroyed,' reported the Grey Zone outlet which is linked to Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private army.
“Of course, we are not talking about 500 to 600 dead, this is the enemy's propaganda. But still there were more than 100 people in the building, approximately 120 to 150. Even our most positive channels evasively refer to losses as ‘significant, large and heavy." he added
Videos highlight the total destruction of the school premises where the Russian mobilised forces were reportedly barracked.
Ukrainian source Obozrevatel said that HIMARS had destroyed 'hundreds of invaders'. 'The number of dead is still unknown. According to various estimates, there were from 150 to 700 occupiers at the base during the attack, most of whom were allegedly mobilised from Saratov.
“According to the Strategic Committee of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 400 Russian soldiers were killed, and about 300 were wounded.”
Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed official in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, also confirmed the news saying that there was a strike on a vocational school, which according to preliminary information served as military personnel quarters.
The attack, Bezsonov said, happened two minutes after midnight on New Year's Day.
“A massive blow was dealt to the vocational school from American MLRS HIMARS. There were dead and wounded, the exact number is still unknown,” Bezsonov said on the Telegram messaging app. “The building itself was badly damaged.”
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