Russia claims to have killed more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers in a retaliatory strike.

Russia announced a raid on Ukrainian positions and killed more than 600 troops in retaliation for shelling that killed 89 soldiers earlier this month.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on January 8 that it had launched a raid on the positions of Ukrainian soldiers in the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast.

 The move was in retaliation for the January 1 shelling of a vocational school in the city of Makiivka in the Donetsk region, where a Russian regiment was stationed, that killed 89 servicemen.

According to the statement of the Russian Defense Ministry, the reconnaissance equipment of this country discovered nearly 700 Ukrainian soldiers temporarily stationed at dormitory number 28 in Kramatorsk and another 600 soldiers stationed at dormitory number 47. 

Russia plans to launch an air strike after “confirming information through several independent channels.”

“More than 600 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a large-scale missile strike on those mentioned above temporary stationing points,” the agency said but did not release evidence.

Ukraine has not commented on the information of the Russian Defense Ministry.

Earlier on the same day, CNN‘s team of reporters heard at least seven explosions, but no casualties were known. These explosions took place after 23h on 7/1 Kyiv time (4h00 on 8/1 Hanoi time), the end of the unilateral ceasefire announced by Russia.

The retaliatory shelling by Russian forces comes a week after the Ukrainian army used the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to launch rockets at a vocational school in the city of Makiivka, causing large casualties.

The Russian military said the servicemen were using cell phones in violation of the ban, allowing Ukrainian forces to determine their coordinates and shell them.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on January 8 that during the period when the Russian forces implemented a unilateral ceasefire on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas, they recorded many ambushes with artillery, rockets, and mortars from Russia.

 “Russian forces returned fire and suppressed Ukrainian artillery units that attacked residential areas earlier,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

After the 36-hour unilateral ceasefire ended, Russian officials announced the continuation of the military operation. “The tasks set by the President for the special military operation will be completed. There will certainly be a victory,” said Sergey Kiriyenko, first deputy chief of staff to the Russian President.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 5 ordered a unilateral ceasefire for 1.5 days on the occasion of Orthodox Christmas after the call of Patriarch Kirill. 

The Kremlin claims the goal of the ceasefire is to give Orthodox Christians “the opportunity to attend the services” around their scheduled Christmas.

However, Ukrainian officials rejected the ceasefire proposal, with President Volodymyr Zelensky calling it a “military ruse” and accusing Russia of “using the ceasefire to continue the conflict with new power.”

After more than ten months of fighting, the Russia-Ukraine war was recently considered to be at a stalemate when the warring parties failed to make significant progress. 

After withdrawing from many areas in the face of a quick Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russian forces strengthened their defenses and stepped up their attacks on several cities, such as the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region.

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