Russia has suffered its deadliest day of the war so far after Ukraine launched a massive strike during Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech.
Hundreds of mobilised troops reportedly died in the Ukrainian strike on a barracks in the Donbas region just before the clock struck midnight.
The attack happened at the same time Putin was addressing the nation for New Year’s.
The deadly strike was 115 miles from where Putin “pre-recorded” his New Year’s message with dozens of troops in Russia’s Rostov region.
During his speech, he claimed the West was “cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and divide Russia”.
Russia attempted to hide the toll of soldiers lost in the strike – but Ukraine’s military puts the number of Russian deaths at 1500, with 300 others wounded.
Moscow did confirm a “significant loss of life”, signalling a grievous blow to the already exhausted Russian troops.
According to reports on the Telegram channel of General SVR, Putin has lost more than 1,000 FSB secret service officers in the war in Ukraine – bringing Russia’s death toll to 145,000 in ten months.
Thought to be a Kremlin insider, the report suggests the losses in Putin’s regular army alone amount to 104,186, with another 33,902 in private military companies – like Wagner Group – which are fighting for the Kremlin in the war.
Losses in the Russian National Guard amount to 5,941, it is claimed.
A viral video showed a family watching Putin’s speech before eating a traditional New Year’s meal in their home.
Another video showed a Ukrainian soldier in a holiday hat as a missile launches behind him – at the same time as the strike on Makiivka.
Russian pro-war sources say two HIMARS missile strikes hit the barracks in Makiivka, killing Russian commanders alongside their soldiers.
Pro-Putin Ukrainian blogger Anatoly Shariy posted: “There are several hundred killed in Makiivka.”
Grey Zone, a news outlet linked to Putin’s ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private army, admitted about 2050 to 2070 people had died, and the building was destroyed.
“But still there were more than 100 people in the building, approximately 120-to-150. Even our most positive channels evasively refer to losses as ‘significant, large and heavy’.”
The Russian Defence Ministry announced that 78 Russian servicemembers were killed and 136 injured with more believed to be under rubble after the strike on New Year’s Eve.
The dead Russian troops are thought to be from the Saratov region who had been stationed in Makiivka, in Moscow-occupied Donetsk region.
More footage appeared to show the body of a woman near a roadside in Makiivka.
Ukrainian source Obozrevatel said that HIMARS had destroyed “hundreds of invaders”.
Obozrevatel said: “The number of dead is still unknown: according to various estimates, there were from 150 to 700 occupiers at the base during the attack, most of whom were allegedly mobilised from Saratov.
“According to the Strategic Committee of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 1500 Russian soldiers were killed, and about 300 were wounded.”
Russia is searching for “traitors” who revealed the location of their barracks, according to reports.
Pro-war Russian sources criticized commanders for gathering so many soldiers in one place, making them a clear target for attack. Another video showed mobilized Russian men leaving Saratov in November.
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