Ukraine school rejects Russian claim of troops killed there

Jan 8, 2023, 1:49 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2023, 12:27 pm
Municipal workers clear the rubble on the roof of College No. 47 which was damaged by a Russian roc...

Municipal workers clear the rubble on the roof of College No. 47 which was damaged by a Russian rocket attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

              A Ukrainian officer examines the situation in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop)
            
              Smoke rises after shelling in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop)
            
              Municipal workers clear the rubble on the roof of College No. 47 which was damaged by a Russian rocket attack in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
            Ukrainian servicemen administer first aid to a wounded soldier in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop) Ukrainian servicemen administer first aid to a wounded soldier in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop) A Ukrainian officer sits in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop) Ukrainian servicemen administer first aid to a wounded soldier in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with Russian forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop) Commander of the Ukrainian army, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, gives instructions in a shelter in Soledar, the site of heavy battles with the Russian forces, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Roman Chop)

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (AP) — Officials at a vocational school in an eastern Ukraine city dismissed claims by Russia that hundreds of Ukrainian troops were killed in a missile strike there, saying Monday that a rocket merely blew out windows and damaged classrooms.

Russia specifically named the vocational school in Kramatorsk as the target of an attack in the almost 11-month war. The Russian Defense Ministry said its missiles hit two temporary bases housing 1,300 Ukrainian troops in the city, killing 600 of them, late Saturday.

Associated Press reporters visiting the scene in sunny weather Monday saw a four-story concrete building with most of its windows blown out. Inside, locals were cleaning up debris, sweeping up broken glass and hurling broken furniture out into a missile crater below.

A separate, six-story school building was largely undamaged. There were neither signs of a Ukrainian military presence nor any casualties.

Yana Pristupa, the school’s deputy director, scoffed at Moscow’s claims of hitting a troop concentration.

“Nobody saw a single spot of blood anywhere,” she told the AP. “Everyone saw yesterday that no one carried out any bodies. It’s just people cleaning up.”

She said that before the war began last February the school had more than 300 students, most of them studying mechanical engineering, with most lessons moving online when Russia invaded.

The students “are now in shock,” she said, adding, “What a great facility it was.”

Ukrainian officials on Sunday quickly denied the Russian claims it had lost a large number of soldiers in the attack.

Despite the absence of any evidence, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports from the scene didn’t shake senior officials’ faith in defense authorities.

“The Defense Ministry is the main, legitimate and comprehensive source of information about the course of the special military operation,” Peskov said Monday in a conference call with reporters, using the Kremlin’s term for the war.

Both sides have regularly claimed killing hundreds of each other’s soldiers in attacks. The claims can seldom be independently verified because of the fighting.

Moscow’s allegations may have backfired domestically, however, as some Russian military bloggers criticized them.

The Institute for the Study of War think tank said the bloggers “responded negatively to the Russian (Ministry of Defense’s) claim, pointing out that the Russian MoD frequently presents fraudulent claims and criticizing Russian military leadership for fabricating a story … instead of holding Russian leadership responsible for the losses accountable.”

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said the strikes on Kramatorsk were in retaliation for Ukraine’s attack in Makiivka on New Year’s Eve, in which at least 89 Russian soldiers gathered at a temporary barracks died, according to Moscow. Ukrainian authorities said hundreds were killed.

It was one of the deadliest attacks on the Kremlin’s forces since the war began more than 10 months ago and an embarrassing loss.

Such revenge strikes have occurred before. When Ukraine in early October struck a bridge linking the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula with Russia, damaging an important supply artery for the Kremlin’s faltering war effort in southern Ukraine and hitting a key symbol of Russian power in the region, the Kremlin sent a first massive barrage against Ukraine’s energy facilities. It was billed as retaliation for the bridge attack and heralded a period of relentless bombardments against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Monday that Russian forces have launched a fresh assault on the town of Soledar in the eastern Donetsk region. Taking Soledar would allow Russia to intensify its attacks on the strategically key city of Bakhmut, where intense fighting has destroyed an estimated 60% of buildings.

In the Luhansk region, most of which is under Russian control, two residents of the village of Nevske were killed in Russian shelling on Monday, Luhansk governor Serhii Haidai said.

Ukraine’s presidential office reported Monday that at least three civilians were killed and 12 others wounded over the previous 24 hours as nine Ukrainian regions in the southeast of the country were shelled.

In one attack on Monday, two people were killed and five others, including a 13-year-old girl, were wounded by a Russian rocket strike that hit a village market in the northeastern Kharkiv region, Ukrainian officials said.

Kharkiv regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said the strike hit Shevchenkove village. Photos on his Telegram channel showed ruined pavilions, some of them still on fire, and rubble all around them.

According to Ukrainian officials, more people could be trapped under the rubble. A rescue operation to find them was underway.

Russia maintains it is fighting against the might of NATO, not just the Ukrainians.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, repeated that argument in an interview published Monday, saying that “the events in Ukraine aren’t a clash between Moscow and Kyiv, it’s a military confrontation between NATO, and particularly the U.S. and Britain, with Russia.”

“The sooner the citizens of Ukraine realize that the West is fighting Russia with their hands, the more lives will be saved,” Patrushev said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty.

Meanwhile, two U.K. citizens working as volunteers in eastern Ukraine have disappeared, the Ukrainian national police said Monday.

Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Perry left Kramatorsk on Friday bound for Soledar, where heavy fighting is reported, and contact with them was lost, police said.

Bagshaw, a resident of New Zealand, was in Ukraine to assist in delivering humanitarian aid, according to New Zealand media reports.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Pierce County substation...
Associated Press

Man accused in holiday substation vandalism released from custody

One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help.
7 hours ago
A man steers his boat that is used by residents to move around the street flooded with rain water i...
Associated Press

Tropical storm leaves 30 dead, 20 missing in Madagascar

ANTANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) — Flooding and landslides caused by the passage of tropical storm Cheneso across Madagascar caused 30 deaths, left 20 people missing and affected tens of thousands across the Indian Ocean island nation, according to a provisional assessment Monday. The storm made landfall in the northeast of the island last Thursday and impacted […]
1 day ago
FILE - Trevor Noah appears at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on March 14, 2021. Noah ...
Associated Press

Trevor Noah returns as Grammy host with comfort, nervousness

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Trevor Noah feels more comfortable hosting the Grammy Awards for a third-straight year, but the former “The Daily Show” host still has some nervousness about leading the ceremony with big-time acts like Beyoncé, Adele and Harry Styles looking on. “The nerves come in because you’re standing in front of not just […]
1 day ago
(AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)...
Associated Press

2 Cuban sisters’ 4,200-mile journey to the US and a new life

HAVANA (AP) — The Rolo González sisters walked out of Nicaragua’s main airport and peered out onto a sea of young men. The Central American “coyotes” squinted back, trying to find the people they would smuggle to the United States. These were the first steps that 19-year-old Merlyn and 24-year-old Melanie took outside of Cuba. […]
1 day ago
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard, right, in th...
Associated Press

UK’s Sunak defends handling of ethics breaches in government

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended his record on integrity and decisiveness Monday, amid criticism of the way he has handled ethics scandals involving senior Conservatives. Sunak said he acted “pretty decisively” to fire party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday after the government’s standards adviser found that he’d breached ministerial conduct rules […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

New US ambassador to Moscow meets with Russian deputy FM

MOSCOW (AP) — New U.S. ambassador to Moscow Lynne Tracy on Monday met with a Russian deputy foreign minister, officials said. Tracy arrived in Moscow last week, taking up her post amid high tensions over Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and U.S. support for Ukraine including President Joe Biden’s recent decision to provide advanced battle […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Ukraine school rejects Russian claim of troops killed there