Russia claimed on Saturday it had “killed more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers” in an attack on Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. A claim that is met with little credence internationally for several reasons. That writes The Guardian.

According to the British newspaper, the Ukrainian army and the mayor of the city claim that there were no fatalities in the attack. A witness to the attack told Reuters news agency on Sunday that the buildings targeted by the Russians were damaged but did not collapse and that there were no apparent casualties.

Moreover, according to a correspondent for The Guardian, Ukrainian soldiers are very aware of the danger of gathering in large groups within a range of Russian artillery – Kramatorsk is close to the front line – especially after the Ukrainian army allegedly killed hundreds of Russian soldiers last week killed soldiers in an attack on a building used as a barracks. “They always spread out in small groups in different locations,” said The Guardian journalist Artem Mazhulin on the scene.

Moreover, the Russian attack on Kramatorsk comes a few days after a successful attack in Makajivka. The large death toll in that attack provoked great anger and outrage in Russia, making Russia’s claim of “hundreds of Ukrainian dead” an obvious propaganda motive.

Unlike the media in Russia, which is subject to strict censorship, huge numbers of Ukrainian and international journalists work with relative freedom on the Ukrainian side of the front. Moreover, even if the location of a deadly attack of this magnitude were off limits to journalists, given the sheer number of victims – and therefore affected families – it would probably be impossible for the Ukrainian authorities to cover up so many deaths.

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