Russia Blames Deadly Attack on Soldiers' Phone Use

It now acknowledges at least 89 deaths
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2023 11:43 AM CST
Updated Jan 4, 2023 12:00 AM CST
New Year Gets Off to a Bloody Start for Russia
Damaged houses are seen Monday through a broken window following a Russian attack on New Year's Eve in Kyiv, Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Renata Brito)
UPDATE Jan 4, 2023 12:00 AM CST

Russia now says at least 89 of its soldiers were killed in a New Year's Day missile attack in Ukraine's occupied Donetsk region, and it blames its own troops for the attack. The Russian military says its soldiers were using mobile phones, which they are not supposed to do, and that the "mass use" of the banned devices gave Ukraine an edge, the BBC reports. Phone use "allowed the enemy to locate and determine the coordinates of the location of military personnel for a missile strike," the military says in a statement. This is the largest death toll Russia has yet acknowledged in its invasion of Ukraine, though the number of troops killed has not been verified. Ukraine, along with some Russian nationalists and pro-Russian officials, claims the toll was much higher, Reuters reports.

Jan 2, 2023 11:43 AM CST

The new year was off to a bloody start for the Russian army, which lost a large number of troops in a Sunday missile attack in the Donetsk region. Ukraine claims 400 were killed; Russia says the number is 63, with the BBC pointing out that "it is extremely rare for Moscow to confirm any battlefield casualties." Though various media outlets have been unable to verify the number, CNN notes that even at 63 casualties, it would number among one of the biggest losses Russia has yet suffered in its war on Ukraine. The missiles hit shortly after midnight, striking a building in Makiivka where Russian troops, most reportedly recent conscripts, were stationed.

CNN and the New York Times report pro-war and pro-Russian bloggers had a fiery response to the news, arguing errors were being made on the part of Russian military leadership. Among those alleged mistakes: ammunition was reportedly kept in the building with the soldiers and exploded, worsening the impact of the attack. One such blogger, Igor Girkin, described the building as "almost completely destroyed" and faulted commanders for keeping ammunition there "without the slightest sign of disguise. ... Our generals are untrainable in principle," he wrote. The Times reports Ukraine used a US-supplied HIMARS launch system; two of the six missiles Ukraine fired were reportedly shot down. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.