Death Toll in Ukraine HIMARS Strike on Russian Soldiers in Donetsk Rises to 89

Russia is blaming the strike on Russian soldiers using their personal phones

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday that 89 Russian soldiers were killed in the Ukrainian HIMARS strike on a facility housing Russian troops in Donetsk that took place on January 1, raising the death toll from 63.

“The first medical aid was provided; wounded individuals were evacuated to medical institutions. Regrettably, the death toll of our comrades increased to 89 when removing structural steel debris,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Ukraine fired six missiles from the US-provided HIMARS rocket systems, and Russia said four struck a school that was being used to house troops in the city of Makeyevka. A Russian military official blamed the massive death toll on Russian soldiers using their phones.

“It has already become obvious at present that the main cause of the occurrence was activation and large-scale use, contrary to the ban, of personal phones by personnel within the reach of enemy’s destruction means,” said Lt. Gen. Sergey Sevryukov, the deputy head of a political department of the Russian Armed Forces.

Sevryukov said that the cell phone use “enabled the enemy to take the bearing and determine coordinates of servicemen location to deliver a missile strike.” It’s possible the US could have provided Ukraine with intelligence to carry out the strike, as Washington has been sharing information with Kyiv to help its fight against Russia.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.