News Ukraine War: Moscow Says Ukrainian Missile Strike Kills 63 Russian Soldiers

Kyiv, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces fired rockets at a facility in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian soldiers were stationed, killing 63 of them, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Monday, in one of the deadliest attacks on Kremlin forces since the war began more than 10 months.

Ukrainian forces fired six rockets from a HIMARS launch system and two of them were shot down, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. It was not said when the strike took place.

The strike, with a US-supplied precision weapon that has proved crucial in allowing Ukrainian forces to hit key targets, brought a fresh setback to Russia, which has been rocked by a Ukrainian counter-offensive in recent months.

The Ukrainian military has not directly confirmed the attack, but appeared to acknowledge what appeared to be the same attack reported by Russian authorities.

The Strategic Communications Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed on Sunday that about 400 mobilized Russian soldiers were killed and about 300 others wounded in a vocational school building in Makiivka. This claim could not be independently verified. The Russian statement said the strike took place “in the Makiivka area” and made no mention of the vocational school.

Meanwhile, Russia used several exploding drones in another overnight attack on Ukraine, officials said Monday, as the Kremlin signaled its strategy of using bombing to target the country’s energy infrastructure and wearing down Ukrainian resistance to its invasion , would not let up.

The barrage was the latest in a series of relentless attacks at the end of the year, including one that killed three civilians on New Year’s Eve.

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On Monday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said 40 drones “flew to Kyiv” overnight. They were all destroyed, according to the air defense forces.

Klitschko said 22 drones were destroyed over Kyiv, three in the outskirts of Kyiv and 15 over neighboring provinces.

As a result of the attack, power infrastructure facilities were damaged and an explosion occurred in one part of the city, the mayor said. It wasn’t immediately clear if that was caused by drones or other munitions. A wounded 19-year-old man was taken to hospital, Klitschko added, and emergency power outages were ongoing in the capital.

In the outskirts of Kyiv, a “critical infrastructure object” and residential buildings were hit, said Governor Oleksiy Kuleba.

Russia has been conducting airstrikes on Ukraine’s power and water supplies almost weekly since October.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of “energy terrorism” as the airstrikes left many people without warmth in freezing temperatures. Ukrainian officials say Moscow is weaponizing winter to demoralize Ukrainian resistance.

Ukraine is using sophisticated Western-supplied weapons to shoot down Russia’s missiles and drones and send artillery barrage into Russian-controlled areas of the country.

Moscow’s full-scale invasion on February 24 went awry, putting pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin while his ground forces struggle to hold ground and advance. He said in his New Year’s address to the nation that 2022 was “a year of difficult, necessary decisions.”

Putin insists he had no choice but to send troops to Ukraine because it threatened Russia’s security – a claim condemned by the West, which says Moscow bears full responsibility for the war.

Russia is currently observing public holidays until January 8th.

Drones, rockets and artillery shells fired by Russian forces also hit areas across Ukraine.

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Five people were injured in the shelling of a Ukrainian-controlled area in the southern Kherson region on Monday morning, Ukrainian governor Yaroslav Yanushevich told Telegram.

Russian forces attacked the town of Beryslav, the official said, and fired on a local market, likely from a tank. Three of the wounded are in serious condition and will be evacuated to Kherson, Yanushevich said.

Seven drones were shot down over the southern Mykolaiv region, according to Governor Vitali Kim, and three more were shot down in the south-eastern Dnepropetrovsk region, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.

A rocket was also destroyed in the Dnepropetrovsk region, according to Reznichenko. He said that energy infrastructure in the region would be targeted.

Ukraine’s Air Force Command reported on Monday that 39 Iranian-made exploding Shahed drones were shot down overnight, as well as two Russian-made Orlan drones and an X-59 missile.

“We remain strong,” tweeted Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

A devastating attack on New Year’s Eve killed at least four civilians across the country, Ukrainian authorities said, and wounded dozens. The fourth victim, a 46-year-old resident of Kyiv, died in a hospital on Monday morning, Klitschko said.

Multiple explosions rocked the capital and other areas of Ukraine on Saturday and throughout the night. The attacks came 36 hours after widespread rocket attacks launched by Russia on Thursday to damage energy infrastructure facilities, and the unusually rapid succession alarmed Ukrainian officials.

In Russia, a Ukrainian drone has struck a power plant in the Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, Bryansk regional governor Alexander Bogomaz reported Monday morning. As a result, one village was left without electricity, he said.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. News Ukraine War: Moscow Says Ukrainian Missile Strike Kills 63 Russian Soldiers

Laura Coffey

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