Pro-Russian commentator, Igor Girkin told BBC that the victims were mainly mobilized troops – that is, recent conscripts, rather than those who chose to fight. He also said ammunition was stored in the same building as the soldiers, making the damage worse.
“Almost all of the military equipment was also destroyed, which stood right next to the building without any disguise whatsoever,”
“We must ensure – and we will do everything for this – that this goal of terrorists fails like all the others,” said Zelenskyy during his nightly address from Kyiv, quoted by BBC. “Now is the time when everyone involved in the protection of the sky should be especially attentive.”
The strike carried out by Ukraine took place just after midnight on Sunday, New Year’s Day, at a vocational school housing Russian conscripts in Makiivka, in the Donetsk region, reported CNN citing Ukrainian military, pro-Russian military bloggers, and former officials.
Zelenskyy said Ukrainian air defenses had already shot down over 80 Iranian-made drones in the opening days of 2023. Ukraine has confirmed it carried out a strike in the Russian-occupied region of Donetsk in east Ukraine, which it earlier claimed killed 400 Russian troops.
The figure was contested by Russian officials, saying only 63 troops were killed. Neither claim has been verified, and access to the site is restricted, the report added.
Later on Monday, the Ukrainian military said that the number of Russian soldiers killed in Makiivka is “being clarified”.
The New Year’s Day attack by Ukraine hit a building in the city of Makiivka, where Russian forces were stationed.
“This was such a deadly attack,” BBC quoted its Russia editor Steve Rosenberg as saying, that “staying silent probably wasn’t an option” for Russia which rarely confirms any battlefield casualties.
The number of deaths acknowledged by Moscow is the highest in a single incident since the war began 10 months ago.