Russia claims a deadly attack, but Kiev denies any casualties

The Russian military said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces fired deadly rockets at barracks in response to a rocket attack that killed dozens of Russian soldiers a week ago. Ukrainian authorities denied that there were any casualties.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases in Kramatorsk, east of Donetsk region, where 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers were stationed, killing 600 of them. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry, said the strikes were in retaliation for the Ukrainian attack in Makivka, which killed at least 89 Russian soldiers.

Sergei Cherevaty, a spokesman for Ukraine’s forces in the east, told The Associated Press that the Russian strikes in Kramatorsk only damaged civilian infrastructure, adding that “Ukraine’s armed forces were not affected.”

The administration of the Donetsk region reported that seven Russian rockets fell on Kramatorsk and two more on Kostyantynivka, without causing any casualties. It says that an educational institution, an industrial facility and garages were damaged in Kramatorsk, and an industrial zone in Kostyantynivka.

Oleksandr Honcharenko, the mayor of Kramatorsk, said that two school buildings and eight residential buildings were destroyed overnight. The photos he posted gave no indication that it was an attack on the scale the Russians claimed, or that anyone was in the buildings when they were hit.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the missiles hit two temporary bases in Kramatorsk, home to 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers.

“The world has seen once again that Russia is lying in its statements, even when it focuses on the situation on the front,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message overnight.

“After Christmas, Russia shelled Kherson with live fire. The strikes on Kramatorsk and other cities in the Donbass were aimed directly at civilian areas, and Moscow reported on the supposed ‘silence’ of its army at the time of giving.

Russia declared a 36-hour ceasefire Orthodox Christmas holidays on Saturday. Ukraine denounced the pause as a ruse.

On January 8, 2023, a Ukrainian helicopter shelled Russian positions on the front in the Kherson region.
Ukraine’s attack on Makiivka was one of the deadliest attacks on Russian forces since the start of the war.

Russia said the attack on Kramatorsk was retaliation for Ukrainian rockets that destroyed a facility in the town of Makivka in eastern Donetsk region, where Russian troops had gathered, early on January 1. Since the war, the Kremlin forces began more than 10 months ago.

Also on Sunday, the Ukrainian military said it had struck a residence hall at a medical university in Rubizhne, in the Russian-occupied eastern Lugansk region, killing 14 Russian soldiers stationed there. The number of injured is unknown, the report said.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said one person was killed elsewhere in the east. Bakhmut, and eight others were injured. The battles for Bakhmut and the nearby city of Soledar remained among the bloodiest battles on the front, Zelensky said.

The city of Merefa in the north-east of Kharkiv region was hit overnight, one person was killed, and two other settlements in the region were shelled, Governor Oleh Syniehubov said.

According to the press secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Konashenkov, and the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Andrey Yermak, on Sunday, Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners, each side exchanged 50 prisoners.


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