Ukrainska Pravda reports, referencing Suspilne, as well as Ukraine’s Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty, Reuters journalists, Finnish Yle journalist Antti Kuronen and Daniele Raineri for the Italian La Repubblica, that Russia’s claim about 600 Ukrainian servicemen killed in Kramatorsk “retaliation strike” is incorrect and categorized as information operation.
“This information is as accurate as the information that they destroyed all of our HIMARS. This is a Russian Ministry of Defence information operation in response to the AFU’s successful actions in striking large concentrations of their personnel, trains, and logistics with our high-precision defeat systems. They lack that capability, ” said Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces.
Foreign journalists also found no confirmation of the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement about the defeat of the Ukrainian military in Kramatorsk on the night of 8 January, which was also denied by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
Reporters from Reuters visited two college dormitories where, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian soldiers resided during the night strike. Both dormitories were not directly struck by missiles and sustained minimal damage. In addition, there was no indication that Ukrainian soldiers lived there, nor were any bodies or traces of blood present.
Antti Kuronen, the Finnish Yle journalist on the scene, also cannot confirm the Russian version.
Venäjä väittää, että se tappoi satoja ukrainalaisia sotilaita ohjusiskussa tähän kouluun Kramatorskissa. Olen paikalla ja vähän outoa, että rakennusta ei ole edes eristetty. Paikalliset eivät myöskään nähneet ambulansseja täällä aamulla. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/YHGxVy1ca6
— Antti Kuronen (@YLEKuronen) January 8, 2023
“I am present, and I find it odd that the building is not even sealed. This morning, locals have also not observed any ambulances. Last night, I heard explosions when this target was also hit. A large (possibly S-300) crater in front of the school. There were no direct strikes. This morning, military personnel reported that the school was vacant,” he wrote.
According to the reporter, a second rocket landed in front of the old garages.
“At this point, I have more faith in my own observations and those of the Ukrainian side than in the statements of the Russian Ministry of Defense regarding the deaths of more than 600 Ukrainian servicemen,” he concluded.
Daniele Reneri, an Italian journalist for La Repubblica, also investigated the locations in Kramatorsk allegedly struck by the Russians.
Italian journalist in Kramatorsk here. Russia allegedly killed 600 Ukrainian soldiers “in dormitories 28 and 47”. I’m checking the first place, dormitory 28: the missile missed the target, made a big hole in the soft terrain and didn’t touch the buildings around /1 pic.twitter.com/um9Oh0CzlA
— Daniele Raineri (@DanieleRaineri) January 8, 2023
“I am examining the first location, dormitory 28: the missile missed its target, dug a large hole in the ground, and missed the surrounding buildings… Checking the second-place dorm, number 47, reveals that the Russian missile once again missed its target. There is a large crater in front of the structure, and the area is deserted, ” he wrote.