Ukraine: Criticism increased in Russia after the deadly Makiivka attack

kyiv: Criticism increased in Russia after the New Year’s Eve attack on Russian troops in Makiivka, eastern Ukraine, which killed 89 people according to Moscow, which questioned the military’s use of cell phones.

The Ukrainian general staff confirmed carrying out this attack and the strategic communications department of the Ukrainian army claimed a much higher toll in Russian ranks, totaling 400 killed and 300 wounded. But this statement has not been confirmed by the staff.

The United States has also not yet commented on these figures. But John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said “there is no lament from the (US) government. This is war. (Ukraine) has been attacked and they fought back and defended themselves,” he said in a press interview on Wednesday.

“Russian soldiers on their territory are a legitimate target of military action for Ukraine, period,” he added.

On the Russian side, the initially announced death toll of 63 was revised upwards on Wednesday following the discovery of new bodies in the rubble of buildings in Makiivka, which was targeted by a Ukrainian strike on January 1 at 00:01 (22:01 GMT). , said Russian general Sergey Sevryukov in a video message broadcast by his ministry.

Geographically located

According to him, the “main cause” of the attack was “massive use by personnel of mobile phones” despite the ban on doing so, which allowed Ukrainian forces to geolocate these Russian troop concentrations.

Mr Sevrioukov assured that “necessary steps are being taken to avoid such tragic events in the future” and that “those responsible will be held accountable”.

These were the heaviest casualties in a single offensive acknowledged by Moscow since the offensive began in February, which came after a series of humiliating military setbacks on the ground.

According to Russian media, the victims were mobilized, therefore not professional soldiers.

In Russia, the announcement of the higher casualty toll did not fail to stir up fresh criticism of the military command, which was criticized on Monday and Tuesday for its “incompetence” by correspondents and commentators.

The boss of channel RT, the spearhead of Kremlin propaganda internationally, Margarita Simonian, called for the names of the Russian officers involved to be made public and to take “a measure of their responsibility”.

“It’s time to understand that impunity does not lead to social harmony. Impunity leads to new crimes. And, hence, public dissent,” he wrote on Telegram.


Pro-Russian separatist leader Denis Pushilin praised the “heroism” of the soldiers who survived the Ukrainian assault, who “risked their lives” by “saving their comrades” under the rubble. According to him, the deputy regiment commander was killed.

In a message posted on Telegram late Wednesday, he said he was visiting the wounded with Viktor Goremykin, Russia’s deputy defense minister, and Dmitry Azarov, governor of the Samara region where some of the victims were from. . Nearly all of the injured have been transferred to other regions of Russia for medical treatment, Pushilin said.

Many Russians are demanding, on social networks, a transparent investigation into the circumstances of the strike. “They will drag this out and in the worst case they will put it on someone’s back,” fears Valeri Boutorin on the VK network.

“It’s not the cell phones and their owners that are to blame, but the superficial negligence of the commander, who I’m sure didn’t even try to move staff out of the building,” the group lashed out. “Notes from a veteran” on Telegram which has 200,000 subscribers.

According to the Russian army, this strike was carried out using the Himars missile system, a weapon supplied by the United States to Ukraine, which allows it to strike deep behind enemy lines.

“We are providing and we will continue to provide (Ukrainian citizens) the equipment and assistance they need to defend themselves. And yes, we have provided Himars and we may provide more in the future,” said John Kirby, spokesman for the Security Council. US National.

During a telephone interview, French President Emmanuel Macron announced to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that France would deliver French-made “light battle tanks” to Ukraine, according to the Elysée.

On Twitter, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked France for the new aid. The number of tanks and delivery time are not specified.

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