KYIV, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Russia’s military leadership came under intense scrutiny Wednesday over how at least 89 Russian soldiers, and possibly many more, were killed in a Ukrainian artillery attack on just one building.
The circumstances that led to last weekend’s attack on the Ukrainian town of Makiivka, which is under Russian control and where troops were stationed, appear to be a recipe for disaster.
Hundreds of Russian soldiers were reportedly holed up in a building near the front line, within range of enemy artillery, possibly near an ammunition depot and perhaps inadvertently helping to target Kyiv forces .
It was one of the deadliest attacks on Kremlin forces since the start of the war, which will be a year old in February, and the highest death toll from any incident acknowledged by either party to the conflict.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed that the attack in Makiivka killed about 400 Russian soldiers who were in a school building. According to military officials, around 300 more were injured. Due to the scuffle, the statements of the parties could not be confirmed at present.
The Russian military tried to blame the soldiers for his death. Lieutenant General Sergei Severyukov said in a statement issued late Tuesday that signals from his phone allowed Kyiv forces to “determine the coordinates of the military personnel’s location” and launch an attack.
Emily Ferris, a Russia and Eurasia researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told The Associated Press that it was “very difficult to verify” whether phone signals and geolocations were to blame for the targeted attack.
He said Russian soldiers in service are prohibited from using their phones precisely because there have been several cases in recent years where they have been used to target targets.
He also said that blaming the soldiers was a “useful narrative” for Moscow, as it helped deflect criticism and bring attention to the official ban on phone use.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also tried to reverse the conversation during a video call on Wednesday at the Russian Navy’s farewell ceremony for a frigate equipped with new hypersonic missiles.
Putin called the Zircon missiles carried by the Admiral Gorshkov frigate a “unique weapon”, capable of flying at nine times the speed of sound and with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 mi). Russia said the missiles could not be intercepted.
Meanwhile, away from the battlefield, France announced Wednesday afternoon that it would send a French-made AMX-10 RC light tank to Ukraine, the first tank sent by a Western European country, during a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart on Wednesday afternoon. counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky after a call.
The French president did not say how many tanks would be sent or when. France, which is a member of NATO, has supplied Ukraine with anti-tank and air defense missiles as well as rocket launchers.
Hours later, President Joe Biden confirmed that the United States is considering sending Bradley combat vehicles to Ukraine. The Bradley is a medium armored fighting vehicle that can carry approximately 10 people, or can be configured to carry additional ammunition or communications equipment.
The Pentagon has already provided Ukraine with more than 2,000 combat vehicles, including more than 1,200 Humvees.
Kozlowska reported in London.