According to multiple reports, dozens -- and perhaps hundreds -- of Russian conscripts were killed by American HIMARS rockets fired by Ukrainian troops when they struck a makeshift barracks that also contained ammunition and supplies for those Russian troops.
"Russia’s Defense Ministry said Monday that Ukrainian forces used a U.S.-supplied Himars rocket system to destroy a facility used as a base for mobilized troops in the city of Makiivka," The Wall Street Journal reports of the attack in the Russian-occupied Donbas region. Meanwhile, Ukraine's forces claimed they downed about 39 Russian drones in a swarm meant to attack the country's infrastructure, the WSJ reported.
"In a statement carried by Russian state news agencies, the ministry said 63 troops had died in the blast after four Himars rockets carrying high-explosive warheads struck the facility," the paper noted further.
Top Russian military commanders confirmed the death toll in a statement carried by Tass, a state-run news agency: "The Kiev regime delivered a strike firing six projectiles from the US-made HIMARS multiple rocket launcher on a Russian unit near Makeyevka in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). The attack left 63 Russian service members killed."
Ukrainian sources, however, put the death toll much higher, and while that could be propaganda, it also makes sense hundreds could have been killed at a site housing several hundred Russian conscripts for training.
The Ukrainian side is meanwhile claiming the true numbers among the Russian dead is much higher, with the Ukrainian military asserting that some 400 were killed and other 300 wounded - though Kiev didn't directly take responsibility in the immediate aftermath.
"Rybar, a Telegram news channel with links to the Russian military, said that about 70 people had been confirmed dead and more than 100 wounded as debris continued to be cleared at the site. Russian President Vladimir Putin last month included Rybar’s founder, Mikhail Zvinchuk, in a new Kremlin-run working group producing a monthly report on the progress of Russia’s troop mobilization," the WSJ reported.
In addition to at least several dozen soldiers killed, Russian military officials also said that a great deal of military equipment was also destroyed in a strike that, to be honest, was probably aided by U.S. military intelligence sources such as satellite surveillance.
Al Jazeera, meanwhile, went on to cite another Russian source who indicated that the death toll could actually be far higher: Igor Girkin, a former Federal Security Service officer who helped Russia annex the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and then organize pro-Russian separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, said on Monday that "the number of dead and wounded runs into many hundreds."
Girkin noted on Telegram: "This is not the only such [extremely dense] deployment of personnel and equipment in the destruction zone of HIMARS missiles," meaning that there are likely other sites housing troops, equipment, and ammunition in close proximity.
CNN reported that in Russia, several military bloggers expressed outrage that Russian commanders would have stationed troops so close to ammo dumps and storage areas.
Meanwhile, Russian rockets continue to pound Kyiv and other civilian targets, giving Moscow little political cover to claim that its own cities should nevertheless be spared similar attacks if and when the Ukrainian military obtains the means to reach them.
All of this points to one conclusion: As we approach the one-year mark since Russia's invasion, it does not look like this war is going to end anytime soon, especially with continually escalating attacks that are becoming more deadly.