The number of Russian military troops killed in a recent Ukrainian rocket attack on a school that housed soldiers in Makiivka, in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region, has been increased to 89. The incident was blamed on unlawful use of mobile phones by Russian forces.
Moscow had upheld the figure of 63 Russian servicemen dead until Wednesday, despite claims by Ukraine that nearly 400 Russian soldiers were killed in the missile attack on New Year’s Day on Sunday.
The initial Russian acknowledgement of 63 fatalities was already exceedingly rare because it represented the largest single-raid death toll Moscow had acknowledged since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
News agency Al Jazeera quoted Lieutenant General Sergey Serdyukov as saying in a video note “The number of our dead comrades has gone up to 89,”. According to him, more victims were discovered buried beneath debris in the town of Makiivka, raising the death toll.
According to Sevryukov, the incident was triggered by Russian soldiers using their cellphones while on duty.
“It is already clear that the fundamental reason for what transpired was the switching on and widespread use by employees of mobile phones in a reach zone of enemy weaponry, contrary to the restriction,” he stated.
He further added “It is already obvious that the main reason for what happened was the switching on and widespread use by personnel of mobile phones in a reach zone of enemy weaponry, contrary to the restriction,”
This factor allowed the enemy to track their base and attack.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, pro-Russian military blogs had rejected the mobile phone explanation as a “fiction” and charged the Russian command with “criminally negligent behavior” for failing to disperse its troops in smaller formations further away from the front line.
The structure was struck by four rockets from US-made HIMARS launchers, according to the Russian defense ministry, and its ceilings collapsed as a result of the rockets’ warheads exploding.
At 00:01 Moscow time on January 1st, six rockets from a US-made Himars rocket system were fired at a technical institution, two of which were shot down, according to Russia. Vladimir Putin, the president, had just finished delivering his yearly new year’s speech on Russian television.
Lt Col Bachurin, the regiment’s deputy commander, was one among those slain, the ministry of defense announced in a statement on Wednesday. According to the statement, a panel was looking into the incident’s circumstances.