Dozens of Russian Soldiers Killed During Sudden Attack at Awards Ceremony


More than two dozen Russian soldiers were killed during an awards ceremony after a surprise attack in eastern Ukraine over the weekend, according to local reports.

The strike occurred while members of the 810th Marine Brigade were being honored at a ceremony near Starobesheve, a town in the Donbas region that is currently occupied by Russia.

According to a post to Telegram by Nexta, a pro-Ukrainian news outlet based in eastern Europe, at least 25 Russian soldiers attending the ceremony were killed, and another several dozen were injured.

Russian servicemembers have previously been targeted at military celebrations in occupied Ukraine. In late October, when a Ukrainian-born delivery man was charged in connection to a poisoned cake and boxes of whiskey that were gifted to a group of Russian military graduates at a celebration in Melitopol. No Russian troops were injured in the incident.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been heading toward a stalemate as both sides in the nearly 21-month war prepare for the brutal winter months. On Tuesday, Kyiv was looking to use its troops’ momentum along the Dnieper River to break into areas of occupied Kherson. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the war against Moscow will not end until all territories occupied by the Kremlin’s forces are retaken.

Pro-Russia militants near the eastern Ukrainian city of Starobesheve in the Donetsk region on February 25, 2015. Two dozen Russian soldiers were injured in a surprise attack on a military celebration near Starobesheve on Sunday.

Ukrainian military commander Colonel Robert “Magyar” Brovdi also confirmed in a post to Telegram that the attack against the Russian brigade had killed members of the command staff.

He said that the strike was “revenge” for members of the Ukrainian 128th Separate Mountain Infantry Brigade who were killed during a ceremony in the southern Zapohrizhia region after a Russian missile attack earlier this month.

According to a report by Al Jazeera, at least 20 Ukrainian troops were killed in the attack on November 5, and Zelensky said that it was “a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

Further reports of an attack near Starobesheve on Sunday were also confirmed by the theater where the awards ceremony took place, which said in a post to the Russian social media platform VK on Monday that Polina Menshikh, a dancer, died during a performance in the Donbas region Sunday due to shelling in the area.

Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the strike and Moscow officials have yet to acknowledge it. Newsweek reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry and Ukraine’s Defense Ministry via email for more information.

Kyiv officials also reported in August that two Russian officers were killed and 15 other servicemembers hospitalized in a mass poisoning at a military celebration in Mariupol, which was reportedly carried out by Ukrainian partisans.