At least 63 Russian soldiers were killed, according to Moscow, in a Ukrainian raid on a Russian barracks on Monday, one of the worst attacks of the conflict to yet.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the soldiers were temporarily housed at a former vocational college facility in Makiivka, on the outskirts of the occupied city of Donetsk.
According to Moscow, the facility was struck by four Ukrainian rockets fired from an American-made HIMARS system. According to the Ministry of Defense, two additional approaching rockets were destroyed.
The Ukrainian military did not publicly confirm the incident, but they did recognize an attack on a vocational school where they said up to 400 mobilized Russian forces were killed.
Russian military blogs also asserted that the number of Russian fatalities was likely in the hundreds. In a rare move, Russian commentators attributed the casualties on the Moscow military establishment.
Daniil Bezsonov, a spokesman for Russia’s puppet state in the Donetsk province, opposed the Russian command’s decision to house troops in the facility, alleging that “high command is still unaware of [the HIMARS’] capabilities.”
Apparently, four Ukrainian rockets destroyed the facility housing Russian troops. Multiple Russian pundits asserted that the temporary barracks included ammunition.
“I hope the culprits who choose to utilize this facility will be punished,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.
Igor Grikin, a former commander of pro-Russian troops in the Donbas region who has become a prominent pro-war commentator on Telegram, stated that the death toll was so high in part because Russian forces stored munitions in the sleeping areas of the troops.
The property, a former vocational school, used as impromptu quarters for Russian forces.
Another renowned Russian blogger with the handle Archangel Spetznaz Z stated, “What transpired in Makiivka is horrifying.” According to a Reuters translation, he wrote, “Who came up with the notion to place a huge number of personnel in one structure, where even a fool knows that even if they hit with artillery, there will be many wounded or dead?”
“Every error has a name.”
A Ukrainian HIMARS missile. Moscow asserts that U.S.-made technology was responsible for the barracks attack.
The HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/EPA-EFE/Shutte
In a war when Moscow has been reluctant to divulge any death toll, Russia’s formal confirmation of the strike and its victims is notable. In April, when the Moskva, Russia’s flagship on the Black Sea, was sunk by Ukrainian forces, just one death was publicly reported by Moscow.
The attack occurs as Russia continues to deploy ground soldiers into the eastern Donbas region in a months-long effort to seize control of Bakhmut, a city located around 55 kilometers north of Makiivka.
Overnight, Russian military launched a series of suicide drones against many Ukrainian cities.
Monday, Ukrainian authorities announced that they had shot down all 39 drones used in the most recent attack, including 22 that were directed at Kyiv