Moscow said Sunday its army carried out a deadly “retaliatory strike” in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk to avenge the deaths of 89 Russian soldiers killed in Makiivka.
“More than 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed” as a result of an attack on Kiev troops stationed in two buildings used as barracks in Kramatorsk, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed in a statement, calling the attacks a “retaliatory strike”.
AFP could not immediately verify the report.
Before midnight on Saturday, AFP journalists heard at least four explosions in Kramatorsk, in the eastern Donetsk region.
Both countries celebrate Orthodox Christmas on Saturday.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not say exactly when the attack took place, but said that Russian intelligence “in the last 24 hours” has confirmed the points of temporary stationing of Ukrainian forces in Kramatorsk.
More than 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers were housed in two buildings, Moscow claimed.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, said earlier Sunday that the Russians had launched seven rocket attacks on Kramatorsk.
He said that “an educational facility, an industrial facility and a garage cooperative” were damaged and there were no injuries.
In a New Year’s attack, Ukraine hit a building used as barracks in the occupied eastern Ukrainian city of Makiivka.
Russia acknowledged that 89 soldiers had died, the worst reported loss in a Ukrainian attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to allow Orthodox Christians to celebrate Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7 in Russia and Ukraine.