The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Jan. 8 that Russian forces conducted a “retaliation operation” against Ukrainian forces for the Dec. 31 strike on Makiivka that killed up to 400 mobilized soldiers due to Russian command failures and poor personnel dispersal practices.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, the Russian Ministry of Defense falsely claimed the retaliatory strike targeted several temporary Ukrainian deployment points in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, and killed over 600 Ukrainian personnel. This claim is false — a Finnish reporter visited the strike site in Kramatorsk on Jan. 8 and noted that it hit an empty school.
Several Russian military bloggers responded negatively to the ministry's claim, criticizing Russian military leadership for fabricating a story to “retaliate” for the Makiivka strike instead of holding Russian leadership accountable. They also pointed out that the ministry frequently presents fraudulent claims.