Russian forces carried out aerial attacks on multiple areas in Ukraine overnight, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia could be boosting its use of Iranian-made drones.
Ukrainian officials said Tuesday the latest strikes from Russian missiles and artillery hit the city of Druzhkivka in the eastern Donetsk region, as well as Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine and Dnipropetrovsk in the southeastern part of the country.
Zelenskyy said during his nightly video address Monday that his government has information that Russia is planning “a prolonged attack” with the Shahed drones it has used in recent months to crash into targets across Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said Russia may be betting on the “exhaustion of our people, our air defense, our energy sector,” as he praised those involved in defending Ukraine from the aerial attacks.
Earlier Monday, Russia said 63 of its troops were killed Saturday in Ukrainian missile strikes on their quarters in the town of Makiivka in the Russian-controlled part of the Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Ukraine hit the Makiivka site with four of the six rockets fired from the precision High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) that the United States has dispatched to Ukraine’s forces. Russia said it shot down two of the incoming missiles.
Ukraine said the Russian death toll was in the hundreds, but pro-Russian officials called it an exaggeration.
Daniil Bezsonov, a senior Russian-installed official in the Moscow-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, said the building housing the Russian troops had suffered a “massive blow.”
“There were dead and wounded, the exact number is still unknown,” Bezsonov said on the Telegram messaging app. “The building itself was badly damaged.”
Pro-Russian nationalist bloggers seethed at the attack and blamed military officials.
“What happened in Makiivka is horrible,” wrote Archangel Spetsnaz Z, a Russian military blogger with more than 700,000 followers on Telegram.
“Who came up with the idea to place personnel in large numbers in one building, where even a fool understands that even if they hit with artillery, there will be many wounded or dead?” he said.