Dramatic moment Russian ammunition depot is blown to smithereens

Ukraine: Video reportedly shows strike in Svatovo

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This is the moment an ammunition depot burst into flames as Ukraine delivered a devastating blow to Russia. Aerial footage showed a shell turning the building into a fireball in the occupied eastern region of Luhansk.

Moscow forces had been setting up at the site Svatove for two weeks when it was blown up yesterday, said Ukraine.

The video showed trucks parked next to the building when it exploded.

“Russians and local collaborators quietly and (almost) unnoticeably had been bringing munitions there for almost two weeks,” the Department of Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine told local media.

“Therefore, the Armed Forces of Ukraine had to wait a little and simply record the number of Ural trucks entering the base.”

It comes as the Kremlin’s top brass faced renewed criticism after up to 400 soldiers were killed in a Ukrainian strike in the neighbouring region of Donetsk.

Vladimir Putin has today faced furious calls from senior politicians and war commentators for the Moscow officials responsible for the “stupid losses” to be tried for treason.

Ukraine claimed it killed “about 400” troops and wounded another 300 in the strike on temporary accommodation in the occupied town of Makiivka.

Online footage suggests the building – once a Ukrainian school – had been virtually flattened after ammunition stored inside detonated.

After nearly two days of silence, Russia acknowledged the attack – but last night claimed only 63 of its fighters died.

Armoured vehicles were also destroyed.

The attack came as President Putin was giving his New Year’s address which received a “lukewarm” response from pro-war commentators, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank.

In another sign of growing public anger over Moscow’s military failures in Ukraine, Russian military bloggers have also shared claims that the Russian president had used background actors rather than real soldiers in his address, the ISW said.

Amid the growing belief that the dictator is “out of touch”, bloggers have been praising Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin.

Mr Prigozhin, who appeared on the frontlines over the holidays, is in charge of the shadowy Russian mercenary group and has been frequently critical of the military’s handling of the war.

Kremlin supporters have meanwhile been left furious over the heavy losses in Makiivka.

High-profile Russian military bloggers have today been reacting with anger, branding Moscow’s military leadership “fools” who didn’t value soldiers’ lives.

Igor Girkin, a separatist military veteran turned commentator, has said hundreds were killed and wounded, saying the building itself was “almost completely destroyed”.

Contradicting the Kremlin’s claims of only 63 deaths, he said the victims were mainly recent conscripts, rather than those who had chosen to fight.

Andrey Medvedev, deputy speaker of the Moscow City Duma, said authorities must value Russian lives.

“Either a person is of the highest value – and then punish for stupid losses of personnel, as for treason to the fatherland – or the country is over,” the pro-Kremlin journalist said on the Telegram messaging app.

Sergei Mironov, former chairman of the Senate, Russia’s upper house, demanded criminal liability for the officials who had “allowed the concentration of military personnel in an unprotected building” and “all the higher authorities who did not provide the proper level of security”.

Archangel Spetznaz Z, a Russian military blogger with more than 700,000 followers on the Telegram messaging app, said: “What happened in Makiivka is horrible.

“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 added commanders “couldn’t care less” about ammunition stored in disarray on the battlefield.

Russian politicians have been speaking out about the incident, with Russian Senate member Grigory Karasin calling for an “exacting internal analysis”.

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