Russia attacked Ukraine with a drone stamped with a sick taunt of “Happy New Year!!!” — while reportedly losing dozens if not hundreds of its own troops in an attack on dormitory housing during the ongoing invasion.
Kyiv police chief Andrey Nebytov shared images of debris from the downed “kamikaze” drone covered in messages in ink, including drawings of fireworks and a gift.
The largest part was the message “с Новым Годом!!!” — the Russian for “Happy New Year” — as well as “бум,” or “boom.”
Nebytov said the “cheap and tasteless” message was found on the Iranian-made Shahed drone in “a playground where children play.”
“This is all you need to know about the terrorist state and its army,” he wrote.
Ukraine’s government also shared images of the debris and its “cynical greeting from Russian terrorists.”
“While Ukrainians did their best celebrating 2023 despite everything, Russia sent multiple ‘gifts,’” officials wrote, noting that air raids in the capital Kyiv had lasted over four hours.
The government claimed to have shot down at least 45 such drones on New Year’s Eve, including 32 above the capital.
The attacks continued overnight, with at least 40 drones “headed for Kyiv” getting shot down, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said Monday.
Ukraine said it is using sophisticated Western-supplied weapons to shoot down Russia’s missiles and drones, “despite having learned to operate them only a few weeks ago.”
“Western weapons in Ukraine are already helping to prevent death and destruction. The more modern weapons, the lower the risk to human life becomes,” the government said.
As Ukraine celebrated its defensive skills, Russian officials were left reeling from reports that large numbers of Russian troops had been killed in a strike on a dormitory where they were being housed in occupied Ukraine alongside an ammunition dump.
Unverified footage posted online showed a huge building reduced to smoking rubble.
Kyiv and Russian nationalist bloggers said hundreds of Russian troops died in the attack on Makiivka, in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Donetsk province.
Ukraine’s defense ministry said as many as 400 Russians had been killed.
Ukraine used NASAMS systems to shoot down drones attacking the country yesterday. Despite having learned to operate them only a few weeks ago, our military used them almost like artillery, reloading them as fast as possible. This use case is probably a first in history. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/zl6rgqUtBO
— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) January 1, 2023
Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-backed regional official in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, said the vocational school had been hit by US-made HIMARS rockets at around midnight, as people in the region would have been celebrating the start of the New Year.
“There was a massive strike on the vocational school from American MLRS HIMARS,” Bezsonov said on the Telegram messaging app. “There were dead and wounded, the exact number is still unknown. The building itself was badly damaged.”
Igor Girkin, a nationalist and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer who helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and then organize pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine, claimed “the number of dead and wounded runs into many hundreds.”
Girkin said ammunition had been stored in the same building where the recruits had been accommodated.
“This is not the only such (extremely dense) deployment of personnel and equipment in the destruction zone [range] of HIMARS missiles,” he wrote. “And – yes – this is not the first such case.”
Russian military blogger Archangel Spetznaz Z said that “what happened in Makiivka is horrible” — while criticizing having the troops there.
“Who came up with the idea to place personnel in large numbers in one building, where even a fool understands that even if they hit with artillery, there will be many wounded or dead?”
A source close to the Russian-appointed leadership confirmed Monday that dozens were killed, but put the tally at under 100.
“What is being reported is greatly exaggerated,” the source told Reuters.
The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
With Post wires
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