Ukraine has killed or wounded at least 500 Russian troops in two devastating attacks in Kherson, the military claims.
The major attack on a farm in Chulakivka was claimed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, adding to the death toll in Makiivka, Donetsk region, on Dec. 31.
In another new attack, Ukraine is said to have hit a recreational facility called Grand Prix used by Russian military occupiers, including GRU military intelligence special forces.
Moscow has so far admitted 63 deaths at the Makiivka barracks, but Russian sources have said the number is higher.
Ukraine is believed to have hit a recreational facility called Grand Prix used by Russian military occupiers (pictured)
The magnitude of any losses here is not yet clear.
Russian pro-war channels have accused a Moscow volunteer Petr Lozhkovoy of openly posting photos of the base, which they say led to a Ukrainian HIMARS missile strike.
It is known that the 10th Separate Guards Special Purpose Brigade of the Russian GRU stayed here.
The attack on Chulakivka – with believed to be hundreds of casualties – took place on a farm, some reports say.
In Makiivka, DNA evidence is being used by the Russians to identify those killed in the strike, which took place at a vocational school used as barracks for mobilized men at the time Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s message was broadcast.
The site was used by Russian military occupiers, including GRU military intelligence special forces
Russian pro-war broadcasters have accused a Moscow volunteer Petr Lozhkovoy of openly posting photos of the base
It is known that the 10th Separate Guards Special Purpose Brigade of the Russian GRU stayed here
Human remains are still being recovered from the rubble of the December 31 attack and official casualties are expected to rise.
Ukrainian sources have speculated that 400 were killed among mobilized men.
According to an unofficial Russian toll, there were 312 dead and 157 injured today.
It was one of the deadliest attacks on Kremlin forces since the start of the war more than 10 months ago.
During the attack, Ukrainian forces fired six missiles from a HIMARS launch system and two of them were shot down, a statement from the Russian defense ministry said.
The WarGonzo channel said today that National Guard SOBR special forces were among the dead.
It is now clear that many of the victims came from the Samara region and not from Saratov, as reported yesterday.
Among the cities in mourning were Tolyatti, Novokuibyshevsk and Syzran, as well as the capital Samara.
Governor of the Samara region Dmitry Azarov – a Putin appointee – confirmed: ‘Our compatriots were attacked by enemy forces.
‘There are wounded, alas, there are deaths.
This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows the before and after scene in Makiivka on December 20 and January 2
“At this time, the information is being clarified.”
A desperate collection of clothing for survivors has been launched.
Locals are being asked to donate T-shirts, underwear and socks for the injured who are believed to be in a hospital in Rostov-on-Don.
Some 130 sleeping bags have been collected for survivors.
Meanwhile, Russia is preparing to ramp up its attacks on Ukraine using Iranian-made exploding drones, according to Ukraine’s president, while Moscow looks for ways to keep pressure on Kiev.
“We have information that Russia is planning a prolonged attack by Shaheds (exploding drones),” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address late Monday.
Debris is scattered on the ground in Russian-occupied Makiivka, in the eastern Donbas region, in the aftermath of the attack. The rockets hit a vocational school that had been turned into a barracks for Russian troops
He said the goal is to break Ukraine’s resistance by “exhausting our people, (our) air defenses, our energy,” more than 10 months after Russia invaded its neighbour.
Vladimir Putin appears to be seeking ways to relaunch his flawed war effort, which has been undermined in recent months by a Ukrainian counter-offensive backed by Western-supplied weapons.
That has led to sharp rebukes of the military’s actions in some Russian circles.
For the Russian military, the Iranian-made exploding drones are a cheap weapon that also spread fear among troops and civilians. The United States and its allies have discussed with Iran Tehran’s role in the alleged delivery of the drones to Moscow.
The Institute for the Study of War said Putin is seeking more support for his strategy among Russia’s leading voices.
“Russian air and missile campaign against Ukraine is unlikely to generate the information effects desired by the Kremlin among Russian nationalists,” the think tank said late Monday.
“Such serious military failures will continue to complicate Putin’s efforts to appease Russia’s pro-war community and maintain the dominant narrative in the domestic information space,” it added.
Zelensky warned that “the nights could be quite restless” in the coming weeks.
He added that during the first two days of the new year, which were marked by brutal nighttime drone strikes against Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure, the country’s armed forces shot down more than 80 Iranian-made drones.
The long-range bombing campaign hoped not only to reduce resistance to the Russian invasion, but also targeted the power grid, leaving civilians at the mercy of the biting winter weather as blackouts swept across the country.
“Every downed drone, every downed missile, every day of electricity for our people and minimum shutdown schedules are just such victories,” Zelensky said.
In the most recent fighting, a Russian missile strike on the town of Druzhkivka in the partially occupied eastern Donetsk region injured two people, Ukraine’s deputy head of the presidential office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said Tuesday.
Officials said the attack destroyed an ice hockey arena described as the largest hockey and figure skating school in Ukraine.
Nightly Russian shelling was also reported in the northeastern region of Kharkiv and the southeastern region of Dnipropetrovsk.
In the recently recaptured areas of the southern region of Kherson, Russian shelling killed two people and wounded nine others on Monday, Kherson’s Ukrainian governor Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Tuesday. He said Russian troops fired 32 times at the city of Kherson on Monday.