The Ukrainian army denies that 600 soldiers were killed in a rocket attack by Russia. Earlier today, Russian forces claimed hundreds of casualties in a large-scale attack on a Ukrainian army base in Kramatorsk. Ukraine dismissed the reports as ‘propaganda’.
According to Russian media, these are targeted rocket attacks on dormitories in the Ukrainian army base, in which it is estimated that about 600 of the 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers present would have been killed. Russia has so far provided no evidence for this claim.
Ukraine unequivocally denies the claim in a response to the British broadcaster: This information is not true. This is again Russian propaganda.
Finnish journalist Antti Kuronen writes on Twitter that he is at the scene of the attack, but that there are hardly any signs to confirm the Russians’ claim: “Russia claims it killed hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers in a rocket attack on this school in Kramatorsk. Being there, I find it a little odd that the structure isn’t even insulated. Ambulances weren’t seen here in the morning, either, according to the locals. The journalist sees a crater in front of the building, but ‘no direct hit’. According to him, military contacts tell him that the building was abandoned during the attack.
The Russian armed forces say the attack is in retaliation for a highly deadly rocket attack by the Ukrainian army on a Russian base on New Year’s Eve. In addition, the Ukrainians fired HIMARS missiles at a school building in Maijivka east of the city of Donetsk, where Russian soldiers were housed. According to Kiev, 400 people were killed, according to Moscow 89.
Journalists from the AFP news agency reportedly heard at least four explosions yesterday in Kramatorsk, which is located in the eastern region of Donetsk. Much of it is in Russian hands.
Earlier in the day, both countries announced that they had again exchanged prisoners of war. Both warring parties have released fifty captured soldiers. In the case of Ukraine, 33 officers and 17 soldiers captured in Mariupol, Kiev, Kherson and the Donetsk region were able to return home, top adviser Andriy Yermak reported on Telegram.
The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the exchange and said that fifty soldiers have been released after negotiations. They are transported by air to Moscow for medical and psychological treatment.
In recent months, prisoners have been regularly exchanged. Contacts between Kiev and Moscow in other areas have been suspended.