Russia’s focus on Makiivka desisted could be deliberate, expert says

5 January, 12:08 AM
Destroyed building of vocational school in Makiivka, which was used by occupants as a barracks, January 4 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Destroyed building of vocational school in Makiivka, which was used by occupants as a barracks, January 4 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Russian special services could be working to spread information about Moscow’s military failures in Ukraine, hoping to galvanize domestic support for the war, military expert Oleh Zhdanov said in an interview with NV Radio on Jan. 4.

“I will say that it could be 50/50 here, as bad PR is still PR,” said Zhdanov, commenting on how much Russian media has been talking about the recent disaster in occupied Makiivka, where a Ukrainian artillery strike destroyed enemy barracks with hundreds of mobilized troops inside.

“And it is possible that Russia's special services may deliberately publish this information in order to raise the fury of the people in Russia – that enemies are killing our citizens and we need to go defeat those enemies.”

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Zhdanov noted that this is part of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s strategy to recast the invasion of Ukraine as an existential, “patriotic” war for Russia’s survival.

He also recalled the words of Kirill Gundyaev (head of Moscow’s Orthodox Church) “that one shouldn’t die of vodka, one should go and die of a bullet or a shrapnel.”

On Jan. 4, Le Figaro reported that, according to the commander of the European Union Military Mission, Admiral Hervé Bléjean, Russia had lost 250 thousand soldiers killed and wounded in Ukraine, by November 2022.

On Jan. 1, the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck Russian military barracks in occupied Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast.

According to Ukrainian journalist Denys Kazanskyi, the strike was carried out by a HIMARS rocket artillery, targeting a building where Russian commanders quartered troops and stored ammunition.

While the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that nearly 100 soldiers were killed in the attack, Ukrainian reports suggest the death toll could be in the hundreds.

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