The Himar attack on a Russian military base in Makiivka left deep scars and many question marks. It is still unclear how many died and how the attack came about. New information says that most of the soldiers were said to have been drunk.
“Only those who were sober enough to run away quickly survived,” says a Russian soldier of the New Year’s night when Himar rockets hit a Russian military barracks in Makiivka. 400 soldiers died, Kyiv said. The Kremlin spoke of 89.
Several independent Russian Telegram channels have now revealed details of the serious attack. Most of the soldiers who stayed in the building of a remote vocational school were so drunk that they could not escape the rockets. Only those who were relatively sober made it out of the building alive.
The two Telegram channels “Samara Protocol” and “Samara Against the War” interviewed several survivors, rescuers and relatives of the victims to reconstruct the attack. One of the battalions of the 44th regiment of the 2nd Russian Guards Army had been stationed there since December 17, according to the New Europe web portal. On the last day of the war year, the men celebrated the new year in a building of a vocational school that was turned into a Russian barracks. According to one survivor, most were drunk. Their commanders weren’t there – they were partying elsewhere. One of the soldiers called his son before the attack at 10 p.m. Moscow time. He told him that the troupe was preparing for the holiday, fried shish kebabs and set the table. Then the building was hit by Himar missiles. The stored ammunition detonated and the barracks burned down completely.
At least 300 were killed, said a soldier tasked with removing the rubble and recovering the dead. According to Ukrainian information, however, 400 soldiers were in the building and almost all of them died. There is no independent information.
“After the first explosions, everyone got confused and some started shooting at each other,” says one survivor. Military expert Chris O. writes on Twitter: “Who survived and who died seems to have been more of a coincidence.” A soldier with a minor shoulder injury was blown up while the man in the bed next to him died.
Many of the enlisted soldiers came from the Samara region. However, their names would not be given so that the Ukrainian secret service would not get any information, the military commissar from Samara said. The Russian Defense Ministry also confirmed this. More than 50,000 people have now signed a petition calling for the publication of a list of the dead. Many relatives complain that even three weeks after the attack, they still have not received any news of who survived. Relatives have called draft offices, hospitals, a Defense Ministry hotline and contacts in Makiivka to no avail.
At the same time, the regional government in Samara announced that it would pay 1.3 million rubles ($18,900) in compensation to the families of the dead. However, there is no compensation for missing persons. Many were posthumously awarded the Order of Bravery. In addition, the costs for some funerals were taken over, it is said. Apparently far more funerals would take place than the 89 officially recognized deaths. There are no announcements for the funeral services. Fear of repression and silence on the incident prevailed in Samara, reports, including from the British “Economist”, suggest. Many families would not comment for fear of losing financial compensation.
The Russian Defense Ministry initially blamed the soldiers themselves for the attack. Despite the express ban, they would have used their mobile phones and thus revealed their location. A little later, however, eight “people’s police officers” were arrested for “breach of duty”. However, the Russian authorities did not disclose what the violation was supposed to be about.