The AFP reports that Russia has admitted that hundreds of troops were shot dead during an Ukrainian attack on the Russian-controlled territory, which resulted in a bloody New Year's Eve weekend in both camps of conflict.
In a very unusual announcement, the Russian defense ministry announced that 63 Russian soldiers were shot dead “as a result of a strike by four missiles” in the city of Makiivka in the eastern part of Ukraine.
It was the largest death toll reported by the Russian side thus far in a war that has been going on since president Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to enter the country on February 24 of last year.
The Russian defense ministry did not specify when the attack took place, but Ukrainian troops are thought to have fired as Russian troops were ringing in the New Year.
The ministry stated that US supplied Himars rocket systems were employed and the location was a temporary deployment point.
The strike was not officially announced. The Ukrainian military reported the death toll significantly higher, saying that nearly 400 soldiers were killed.
Russian strikes in various parts of Ukraine on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day caused the deaths of at least five people.
The Ukrainian capital was again under attack from drones made by Iran on Monday, though Ukrainian forces said that the majority were killed by air defenses.
Kyiv City Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported an explosion in the northeastern part of Kyiv and stated that emergency services were called in.
“An injured 19-year-old man was hospitalized in the Desniansky district of the capital,” the source said.
The authorities later claimed that he was struck by falling debris.
After the strike, the power company Ukrenergo stated that the situation regarding the supply of electricity in Kyiv was “more complicated”.
“That is why emergency shutdowns are now in effect,” it wrote in a post on Facebook.
Its New Year assaults — that targeted the downtown areas of major cities — suggest a change in tactics as stated by an advisor for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Russia no longer has any military goals and is trying to kill as many civilians as possible and destroy more civilian facilities,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted.
“A war to kill.”
Over the weekend, Russian artillery hit the village of Naddniprianske near the southern city of Kherson, severely wounding one 13-year-old boy.
Then, the Russian army attacked the hospital in which the child was in intensive care, smashing windows.
“What did the 13-year-old boy do to these inhumans that tried to kill him twice?” governor Yaroslav Yanushevych said via the messaging application Telegram.
The Russian attack destroyed the Kherson hospital, and left the city and surrounding settlements without electricity.
Russian forces, in November, retreated from Kherson, the sole regional capital controlled by Moscow However, they continued to attack the city.
In Kyiv, the Police chief Andriy Nebitov over the weekend published a photo of debris of a drone that was destroyed which included an image of “Happy New Year” in Russian.
“That is everything you need to know about the terror state and its army,” the author wrote.
After suffering several devastating defeats on the battlefield, Moscow started to target electricity and other vital infrastructure in October.
The strikes have resulted in widespread blackouts and have cut off heating and water supply for civilians, as temperatures in some areas dropped below freezing.
The head of the UN's human rights department has warned that the current campaign has caused “extreme hardship” on Ukrainians as well as condemned possible war crimes committed by Russian forces.
However, Putin made it clear in his address at midnight on New Year's Eve that “moral, historical rightness is on our side”.
Moscow claimed that its New Year's Eve attacks targeted pro-Western nations' drone industry.
“The plans of the Kyiv regime to carry out terror attacks against Russia in the near future have been thwarted,” the Russian defense ministry announced.
Russia has claimed Ukraine is pursuing domestic infrastructure and military bases.
The month of December was when Moscow declared that it destroyed drones three times in the vicinity of Engels airfield, which is an airbase located in the southern part of Russia close to 600 km (370 miles) away from Ukraine. Three people were killed by falling debris in the attack.
In the beginning of December, another station in Russia's Ryazan region also witnessed drones from Ukraine which killed three individuals, Moscow said.
This morning, Russian authorities announced that a Ukrainian drone struck an energy plant in the southwest Bryansk region, which is located near Ukraine.
Bryansk Regional governor Alexander Bogomaz said on Telegram that the strike cut off the electricity supply to the village.