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Russia says it killed 600 Ukrainian soldiers in retaliation

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On Sunday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had killed more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers in an intense missile attack on two buildings in eastern Ukraine temporarily housing Ukrainian forces.

Moscow said the “retaliatory strike” in the eastern city of Kramatorsk was in retaliation for the killing of 89 Russian servicemen in Makeyevka.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed in a statement that “more than 600 Ukrainian servicemen were killed” as a result of an attack on Kyiv forces stationed in two buildings in Kramatorsk used as barracks, calling the attacks a “retaliatory strike”.

AFP was unable to immediately verify the news, but Reuters reported that a Russian missile caused damage but did not destroy buildings and there were no clear signs of casualties.

Reuters journalists visited the college’s dormitories, which the Russian Defense Ministry said were temporarily housing Ukrainian soldiers near the front line of the war at the time of the night strike.

Neither of them appears to have been directly hit by a missile, nor was it severely damaged. There were no visible signs that the soldiers were living there and there were no signs of dead bodies or traces of blood.

Reuters reported that some windows were broken in Motel No. 47, which was standing next to a courtyard with a large hole.

The other building announced by the Russian Defense Ministry, Hostel No. 28, was completely intact. A crater was placed 50 meters away near some garages.

The authorities in Kyiv did not immediately comment on the strike or on Russia’s claims of hundreds of casualties. The mayor of Kramatorsk said earlier that there were no injuries.

Earlier Sunday, Pavlo Kirilenko, head of the regional administration in Donetsk, said the Russians had launched seven missile attacks on Kramatorsk.

He said that “an educational institution, an industrial facility and a garage cooperative” were damaged and there were no casualties.

In an offensive in the new year, Ukraine bombed a building in the occupied eastern Ukrainian town of Makivka that was being used as a barracks.

Russia admitted killing 89 soldiers, the worst single loss from the Ukrainian strike.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a 36-hour ceasefire to allow Orthodox Christians to observe Christmas, which is celebrated on January 7 in Russia and Ukraine.

The unilateral ceasefire ended at 11 pm in Kyiv (9 pm GMT) on Saturday.

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