More than 600 Ukrainian soldiers instantly died after Russia launched what it called a devastating retaliatory strike at a barracks in eastern Ukraine on Sunday.
“More than 600 Ukrainian servicemen were killed” by a missile strike on troops stationed in two buildings used as barracks in Kramatorsk, said a Russian defense ministry statement.
Russia described the attack as a “retaliatory strike” following Ukraine’s New Year’s Eve missile salvo in the eastern Ukrainian town of Makiivka, which Moscow said killed 89 of its soldiers.
Ukraine’s armed forces rejected Russia’s claim about the Kramatorsk attack.
“This information is as true as the data that they have destroyed all of our HIMARS,” Sergiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the eastern group of the Ukrainian armed forces, told the Suspilne media outlet. In the attack on Makiivka, Ukraine used U.S.-supplied HIMARS missiles.
Cherevaty said Russia could not deliver high-precision strikes.
The Russian statement did not say when exactly the strike had taken place — only that Russian intelligence had “over the past 24 hours” located more than 1,300 Ukrainian troops in two buildings in Kramatorsk.
The industrial city, in the eastern Donetsk region, has been the target of repeated Russian missile attacks.
Earlier Sunday, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, said Russian forces had launched seven rocket attacks on Kramatorsk “after midnight.”
He said “an educational institution, an industrial facility and a garage cooperative” had been damaged and that there had been no casualties.