Cellphones led to deadly New Year’s Day strike

PEREVEVALNE, UKRAINE - MARCH 06: Russian paramilitaries stand guard outside of a Ukrainian military base in the town of Perevevalne near the Crimean city of Simferopol on March 6, 2014 in Perevevalne, Ukraine. As the standoff between the Russian military and Ukrainian forces continues in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, world leaders are pushing for a diplomatic solution to the escalating situation. Crimean citizens will vote in a referendum on 16 March on whether to become part of the Russian federation.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Russian paramilitaries stand guard outside of a Ukrainian military base in the town of Perevevalne near the Crimean city of Simferopol in Perevevalne, Ukraine. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 2:09 PM PT – Wednesday, January 4, 2023

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that the reason that Ukraine was able to achieve the deadly strike was because of the unauthorized use of cellphones by Russian soldiers.

Officials received pushback after they laid the blame of the strike on the targeted soldiers themselves.

Russia has said that the main reason Ukraine was able to home in on the exact location of the soldiers on New Year’s Day was because the soldiers were using their cellphones despite the cellphone ban.

Russian soldiers often use open cellphone lines, where calls are intercepted by Ukraine. These calls often reveal Russian locations and the disarray within the Russian military.

Russian lawmakers and military bloggers pushed back against this claim by the Russian Defense Ministry, saying that it is merely an attempt by the military to shift blame from their commanders.

Some had criticized Russian commanders for not taking precautions to protect their soldiers. Some basic precautions that were not taken are dispersing newly arrived soldiers to better and safer locations, and housing soldiers away from live munitions.

The British Defense Ministry released a statement saying that the unprofessional practices of the Russian military are what is leading to their high casualty rate.

“The Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from well before the current war,” the statement said.

The strike had taken place early on New Year’s Day, in the city of Makiivka in the Donetsk region. Ukraine claims to have killed around 400 troops, but Russia had first said that only 63 soldiers were killed, but has since raised that number to 89.

This is a rare move by the Russian Defense Ministry to release official numbers of battlefield casualties, as well as admitting that a deputy commander of the regiment was among the casualties of the strike.