The Russian army criticized after the death of dozens of soldiers in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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Russian army criticized after dozens of soldiers killed in Ukraine | War in Ukraine

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Russians gather in Samara to lay flowers in memory of more than 60 soldiers killed in a Ukrainian attack on the territory controlled by Russia.

Flowers and prayers: Rallies were held in Russia on Tuesday to pay tribute to dozens of military personnel killed in a strike in eastern Ukraine, a shock that sparked a wave of criticism against the country ;army.

Unusually in Russia, where authorities remain tight-lipped about military casualties in Ukraine, around 200 people attended an authorized gathering in Samara, from where were originating some of the soldiers killed.

A gathering of 200 people was authorized in Samara, where some of the soldiers killed were from.

Residents laid roses or wreaths in front of an eternal flame in one of the city's main squares, before respectfully bowing or waving of crosses, according to an AFP correspondent.

An Orthodox priest recited a prayer, then soldiers saluted by firing guns into the air. According to local media, rallies were taking place in other towns in the region, including Togliatti and Syzran.

In a rare admission, the Russian Defense Ministry admitted on Monday that 63 soldiers were killed by a Ukrainian strike on New Year's Eve on a building where they were stationed in Makivka, a Russian-occupied town in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claims. annexation. kyiv evokes a much higher balance sheet.

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These losses, among the heaviest suffered by Moscow in a single attack since the launch of the offensive against Ukraine in February 2022, caused a shock in Russia, as well as an avalanche of criticism from nationalist commentators who nevertheless favored military intervention.

The emotion aroused by these losses, another blow for the Kremlin after the setbacks recorded in the fall, was reinforced by the fact that the soldiers killed were reservists who had were mobilized.

I haven't slept for three days, said at the ceremony in Samara Ekaterina Kolotovkina, wife of a Russian general and president of an association close to the army, the Council of women of the 2nd Guards Combined Army.

“We are in constant contact with our guys' wives. It's very hard, it's scary. But we cannot be broken. Sorrow unites. »

— Ekaterina Kolotovkina

Three days later, Russian President Vladimir Putin had not yet reacted to the strike in Makiïvka, announced in the middle of the Orthodox Christmas holiday week, a traditionally joyful period when Russians get together with family.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the missiles were fired from HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, a weapon supplied by the United States to Ukrainian forces.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the missiles were fired by HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, a weapon supplied by the United States to Ukrainian forces.

After the defeats suffered these last months by Moscow in Kharkiv (north-east) and Kherson (south), which had given rise to criticism against the Russian general staff, the slaughter of Makiïvka caused a new peak of anger and calls to punish those responsible.

Several voices were raised in particular to denounce the fact that ammunition would have been stored in the same building used to house the soldiers, who were also authorized to use their mobile phones, which allowed their geolocation by the Ukrainian gunners.

What conclusions will be drawn? Who will be punished?, launched the communist deputy Mikhail Matveïev, elected in Samara.

Several pro-war commentators, very followed on social networks, also disputed the death toll of 63, underestimated according to them.

The Telegram account Rybar, which has more than a million subscribers, exposed the criminal naivety that led to housing the military next to an ammunition depot whose the explosion would have aggravated the toll.

For their part, the Ukrainians said they had faced several attacks since the New Year.

On Monday, kyiv again came under fire from Iranian-made drones, but the majority were shot down, authorities said. President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that his army shot down more than 80 planes.

On Monday evening, Kharkiv region governor Oleg Synegoubov also said that the second largest city ​​of Ukraine and its region had been the target of Russian missiles.

But the fiercest fighting takes place around the city of Bakhmout, without any real strategic importance, but which Russian forces, led by the Wagner mercenary group, have been trying to take for months. business close to Vladimir Putin, admitted that the fighting was difficult in Bakhmout, saying that the Ukrainians had turned every house into a fortress.

Sometimes his men fight for weeks for [ take] a house, he said in an interview with Russian news agency Ria-Novosti published on Tuesday.

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