What is known so far about the attack on Makivka
Ukrainian troops launched a heavy offensive against the Russian army on New Year’s Day. Hundreds of bookers are said to have stayed in the Shell building on New Year’s Eve using their phones.
A Ukrainian offensive in eastern Ukraine that killed dozens of Russian soldiers has sparked criticism of Russia’s military leadership. “Ten months after the start of the war, it is dangerous and criminal to see the enemy as a blind fool,” said Andrei Medvedev, deputy speaker of the Moscow City Parliament.
Russia has confirmed that 63 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian rocket attack in the Donbass on New Year’s Eve. The missiles struck a makeshift shelter in the Russian-occupied town of Makhivka, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow. Ukraine’s military leadership had earlier announced that 400 Russian soldiers had been killed and 300 wounded. Russian or Ukrainian data cannot be independently verified. However, verified images show the collapsed building.
Telegram channels close to the Kremlin and war correspondents also reported numerous deaths. Prominent Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov wrote on Telegram of “significant casualties,” but they won’t reach 400 by a long shot. Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer and Donbass separatist commander who is now a vocal critic of the Russian military leadership, said hundreds had been killed.
The reports increased pressure on the Defense Ministry in Moscow to comment on the Ukrainian attack. If the 400 Russian soldiers were indeed killed, it would be one of the deadliest attacks of the war so far. Otherwise, Russia does not provide statistics on soldiers killed in its own ranks. As of February 24, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defense has not provided a number higher than 63.
After the first reports of the Ukraine attack, influential military bloggers in Russia were quick to criticize it. The shelters were therefore located next to ammunition depots, which led to a devastating explosion after a rocket hit. A fatal mistake – not the first mistake made by Russian generals in this war.
Cell phones may have attracted attention
According to unconfirmed reports, new draftees gathered in the building to celebrate the New Year. The Ukrainian military became aware of the location due to high activity of data traffic through mobile phones. On his Telegram news channel, Danil Besonov, the deputy information minister appointed by the Russian occupiers, called for those who allowed the men to stay in a building to be held accountable. He also asked Russian soldiers to stop using their own mobile phones.
Such attacks have been repeated in Ukraine since the summer. After all, highly accurate and long-range multiple rocket launchers of the Himars type are used for this (read our data analysis on the subject: these are the targets that Ukrainians destroy with Himars rocket launchers.) targets were logistic centers and troop quarters beyond the line of contact. Attacks on their own country in North East and South were prepared by such blows. Dozens of Russian soldiers were repeatedly killed.
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