No sign of casualties after rocket strikes college in Ukraine
A Russian rocket strike on the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk caused damage but did not destroy buildings and there were no obvious signs of casualties, a Reuters witness said on Sunday, after Moscow claimed the attack killed 600 Ukrainian soldiers.
Reuters reporters visited two college dormitories Russia's defence ministry said had been temporarily housing Ukrainian personnel and that it had targeted as revenge for a New Year's attack by Kyiv that killed scores of Russian soldiers.
But neither dormitory in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk appeared to have been directly hit or seriously damaged. There were no obvious signs that soldiers had been living there and no sign of bodies or traces of blood.
"There was an explosion, and then another explosion. The windows shook... Just a normal day," said Mykhailo, a 41-year-old resident.
Some of the windows were broken at College No.47's dormitory and there was a big crater in a courtyard. The building of a nearby college was damaged and its windows were smashed.
The other dormitory named in the Russian statement, affiliated with College No.28, was entirely intact. A crater lay about 50 metres away closer to some garages. Some of the college's windows were smashed.
"It was very loud, it threw people out of their beds. Some people hurt their fingers because of the blast wave," said Polina, 74, a resident who lives across from one of the dormitories.
Residents said they heard the explosions shortly after 23:00 local time - midnight Moscow time - when a ceasefire declared by Russia for Eastern Orthodox Christmas had been due to end.
Authorities in Kyiv did not immediately comment, but the spokesman for military command East dismissed the Russian claim as untrue in comments on public broadcaster Suspilne.
"This information is as true as the data that they destroyed all our HIMARS," the military official Serhiy Cherevatyi said, referring to sophisticated Western-supplied multiple-launch rocket systems. Kramatorsk's mayor earlier said there had been no casualties.