Russia Blames Soldiers’ Cellphone Use For Ukraine Strike That Killed 89

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Russia Blames Soldiers’ Cellphone Use For Ukraine Strike That Killed 89

Ukraine war: Russia previously said 63 soldiers were killed in weekend attacks.

Moscow:

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday blamed the illegal use of mobile phones for a deadly Ukrainian missile attack that killed 89 servicemen, significantly raising the reported death toll.

Moscow earlier said 63 Russian soldiers were killed in the attack over the weekend. The ministry’s response came amid growing anger among some Russian commentators, who have been increasingly vocal about what they see as a half-hearted campaign in Ukraine.

Much of the anger on social media was directed at military commanders rather than Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Four Ukrainian missiles hit a makeshift Russian barracks at a vocational college in Makiivka, the twin city of Donetsk, the capital of the Russian-held region in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Although an official investigation has been launched, the root cause of the attack was apparently illegal widespread use of mobile phones by service personnel, the ministry said.

“This factor allows the enemy to track and determine the coordinates of the position of the troops for a missile attack,” it said in a statement issued after 1 a.m. in Moscow on Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made no mention of the attack in a video address on Tuesday in which he said Russia was ready to launch a major offensive to improve its fortunes.

“We have no doubt that Russia’s current masters will throw everything they have and everything they can to try to turn the tide of war and at least delay their defeat,” Zelensky said in a video address.

“We have to disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for it. The terrorists must be defeated. Any attempt by them to launch a new attack must fail,” he continued.

Ukraine’s military said it carried out an attack that damaged Russian equipment and possibly personnel near Makivka. But it did not elaborate further.

Russian nationalist bloggers and some pro-Russian officials in the region put the Makivka death toll in the hundreds, though some say these estimates are exaggerated.

The attack was another blow to Putin and what he called a “special military operation” to prevent threats to Russia’s security and protect Russian speakers. Ukraine and its allies have accused Moscow of an unwelcome imperialist-style territorial grab.

Bakhmut fight

The situation on the front line near the eastern city of Bakhmut was particularly difficult, General Valery Zaluzhny, commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said.

Russian forces have repeatedly tried to capture Bakhmut and surrounding areas, in some cases literally marching in with the dead bodies of their own soldiers, Zaluzhny wrote on the Telegram messaging app, leaving Ukrainian forces hanging on.

A little-known patriotic group that supports the widows of Russian soldiers has called on Putin to order a mass mobilization of millions of men and close the border to ensure victory in Ukraine.

Zelensky repeated Ukrainian claims that Moscow is planning a full-scale mobilization, a move that Russian officials say is not currently being considered.

A US State Department spokesman said the Washington report found that “Ukrainian military forces struck a Russian military barracks that stored ammunition inside Ukrainian territory” and killed several Russians. “We have also read reports that many of these soldiers have received new recruits.”

Putin plans to speak with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax, the latest in a series of talks between the two since the start of the war.

Turkey worked as a mediator alongside the United Nations last year to broker an agreement to allow grain exports from Ukrainian ports but the prospect of serious peace talks appears remote, especially as the war continues to rage.

Ukraine’s Gen. Zaluzhny, summarizing a Tuesday call with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, thanked the Americans for helping ensure the provision of anti-missile weapons systems that Kyiv says are increasingly knocking down Russian missiles. Power generating plant.

Zaluzhny said he discussed what tools are needed to boost Ukraine’s chances against Russia, a message that senior officials have hammered home on a daily basis.

“Now is the moment when, together with our partners, we should strengthen our defenses,” Zelensky said.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Zelensky that he could count on Britain for long-term support “as demonstrated by the recent delivery of more than 1,000 anti-aircraft missiles”, Sunak’s office said on Tuesday.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated feed.)

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