Kyiv denies Russian claims of 600 Ukrainian troop deaths in Kramatorsk attack

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Russian forces claimed to have killed around 600 Ukrainian troops in strikes on military barracks in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kramatorsk, in retaliation for the deaths of dozens of Russian soldiers in a rocket attack a week ago.

The Russian Defence Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops. But Kyiv has denied that there were any casualties. 

Serhii Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s forces in the east, told The Associated Press that Russian strikes on Kramatorsk damaged only civilian infrastructure, adding “the armed forces of Ukraine weren’t affected.”

The Donetsk regional administration said seven Russian missiles hit an educational institution, an industrial facility and garages in Kramatorsk and two more hit Kostyantynivka, without causing any casualties.

“The world saw again these days that Russia lies even when it draws attention to the situation at the front with its own statements,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during his nightly address.

‘No change’ on the eastern front

Fighting on Ukraine’s frontline has continued despite a unilateral truce called by President Putin to coincide with Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

On Sunday, Ukrainian forces claimed to have hit a residential hall of a medical university in Rubizhne, a town in the Russian-occupied eastern Luhansk region, killing 14 Russian soldiers. 

“The situation on the frontline has not changed significantly in the first week of the year. Heavy fighting continues in Luhansk and Donetsk regions – every hot spot in these areas is well known. Bakhmut is holding on despite everything,” said President Zelenskyy.

“Although most of the city is destroyed by Russian strikes, our soldiers repel constant attempts of Russian offensive there,” he added.