Ukrainian school refutes Russian claims that troops were killed there

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — Officials at a vocational school in an eastern Ukrainian city dismissed Russian claims that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in that missile attack, saying Monday that a rocket simply exploded Broken windows and damaged classrooms.

Specially named vocational schools in Russia Kramatorsk targeted in nearly 11 months of warThe Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two makeshift bases in the city that housed 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers late Saturday, killing 600.

Associated Press reporters visiting the scene in clear weather Monday saw most of the windows of a four-story concrete building blown out. Inside, locals were cleaning up debris, sweeping up broken glass and throwing broken furniture into the missile crater below.

A detached six-storey school building is largely intact. There was neither sign of the Ukrainian military presence nor any casualties.

Yana Pristupa, the school’s deputy director, scoffed at Moscow’s claim that strike forces were concentrated.

“Nobody saw a single spot of blood anywhere,” she told The Associated Press. “Yesterday everyone saw that nobody was bringing out any bodies. It was just people cleaning up.”

Before the war started last February, the school had more than 300 students, most of them studying mechanical engineering, and when Russia invaded, most classes moved online, she said.

Students are “shocked right now,” she said, adding, “What a fantastic facility it is.”

Ukrainian officials on Sunday quickly dismissed Russian claims that a large number of soldiers were lost in the attack.

Despite the lack of any evidence that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the airstrike, Moscow will not budge. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports from the scene had not shaken the confidence of senior officials in the defense authorities.

“The Ministry of Defense is the main, legitimate and comprehensive source of information about the course of special military operations,” Peskov said on a conference call with reporters on Monday, using the Kremlin’s term for war.

During the war, both sides often claimed to have killed hundreds of the other’s soldiers in attacks. Few of these claims have been independently verified because of the fighting.

However, Moscow’s allegations could backfire domestically, as some Russian military bloggers criticized the Kremlin’s claims about the Kramatorsk strike.

The Institute for War think-tank said bloggers “responded negatively to the Russian (Defense Ministry) claims, noting that the Russian Defense Ministry often makes fraudulent claims and criticizing the Russian military leadership for fabricating stories … rather than holding The Russian leadership bears responsibility for the damage.”

A spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said the airstrike on Kramatorsk was in retaliation for Ukraine’s New Year’s Eve attack on Makivka, in which at least 89 Russian soldiers were killed in makeshift barracks, according to Moscow. Ukrainian authorities said the death toll from that attack was in the hundreds.

It was one of the deadliest attacks on Kremlin forces since the war began more than 10 months ago, and an embarrassing loss.

Retaliation like this has happened before.When Ukraine hit a bridge in early October The Kremlin links the Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula to Russia, disrupting a vital supply artery for the Kremlin’s faltering war effort in southern Ukraine and hitting a key symbol of Russia’s power in the region. The first large-scale shelling of an energy facility in. It was billed as retaliation for the bridge attack and heralded the relentless bombing of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

At least three civilians in the country were killed and 12 others wounded when nine Ukrainian regions in the southeast of the country were shelled in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian president’s office reported on Monday.

In one attack on Monday, Russian rockets hit a rural market in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, killing two people and wounding five others, including a 13-year-old girl, Ukrainian officials said.

Kharkiv regional government Oleh Syniehubov said the strike hit the village of Shevchenkove. Photos posted by Syniehubov on his Telegram channel showed destroyed pavilions, some of which were still burning, surrounded by rubble.

More people may be trapped under the rubble, according to Ukrainian officials. A rescue operation to find them is underway.


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