There was no sign of casualties at the site of strikes Russia says have killed hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen

  • There is no evidence of injuries at the strike site – witness
  • Russia says it carried out a revenge attack on Ukraine
  • It claims to have killed more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers
  • There is no immediate response from Ukraine

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (Reuters) – A Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk caused damage but did not destroy buildings and there were no clear signs of casualties, after Russia said the attack killed 600 people, a Reuters witness said on Sunday. Ukrainian soldiers.

Reuters journalists visited two university dormitories that the Russian Defense Ministry said were temporarily housing Ukrainian soldiers near the front line of the war at the time of the night strike. Neither of them appears to have been directly hit by a missile, nor was it severely damaged. There were no visible signs that the soldiers were living there and there were no signs of dead bodies or traces of blood.

Some windows were blown out in Lodge No. 47, which was standing by a courtyard with a large hole in it.

The other building announced by the Russian Defense Ministry, Hostel No. 28, was completely intact. A crater was placed 50 meters away near some garages.

The authorities in Kyiv did not immediately comment on the strike or on Russia’s claims of hundreds of casualties. The mayor of Kramatorsk said earlier that there were no injuries.

In a statement, Russia’s defense ministry said the strike on the buildings in Kramatorsk was a retaliation for last week’s deadly Ukrainian attack on a Russian barracks in Makeyevka, in a part of the Donetsk region controlled by Russian forces, in which at least 89 people were involved. of the military were killed.

It said Moscow used what it described as reliable intelligence to target Ukrainian forces. It added that more than 700 Ukrainian soldiers were housed in one hostel and more than 600 in another.

The Ministry of Defense said: “As a result of a massive missile strike on temporary deployment points of units of the Ukrainian army, more than 600 Ukrainian servicemen were destroyed.”

If true, this would be the largest single loss for Ukrainian forces since the Russian invasion on February 24 last year. Neither side has disclosed the usual losses in the grinding war, which entered its eleventh month.

Pavlo Kirilenko, Ukraine’s governor of Donetsk, had earlier said that Russia launched seven missile strikes on Kramatorsk.

Oleksandr Honcharenko, the mayor of Kramatorsk, said earlier Sunday that the attack destroyed two educational facilities, eight apartment buildings and garages, but that there were no casualties.

Ukraine is believed to have stopped housing troops close together in single facilities after a deadly Russian missile attack on a base in western Ukraine in March killed dozens.

The practice of housing soldiers together also emerged after the Ukrainian strike on Makievka this month, with Russian military leaders coming under heavy criticism within Russia for not dispersing their forces.

Kramatorsk, also located in the Donetsk region, has been repeatedly bombed by Russia and is one of four regions that Moscow claims have officially merged into Russia, something Ukraine and most of the world do not recognize.

A few miles northwest of Bakhmut, Kramatorsk is a small city that Russia has been trying to capture for more than five months in a pitched battle that has become the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in recent weeks.

Ukrainian officials said earlier that at least two people were killed elsewhere in Russian bombing overnight after a unilateral ceasefire for Orthodox Russians ended at Christmas.

A 50-year-old man was killed in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ole Sinhopov said on the messaging app Telegram.

Local officials said another person was killed in an overnight attack on Soledar near Pakhmut in the Donetsk region.

Reuters could not immediately verify these allegations.

(Reuters report) Writing by Andrew Osborne. Edited by Frank Jack Daniel

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