Ukraine is said to have hit a company of Russian troops with HIMARS while they waited around for a visiting general

Ukraine is said to have hit a company of Russian troops with HIMARS while they waited around for a visiting general
  • A Ukrainian HIMARS strike is thought to have killed at least 60 Russian troops gathered in a field.

  • Sources told the BBC the troops were waiting for a senior commander when the strike occurred.

  • Previous reports have described casualties for Russian troops gathered in vulnerable positions.

A Ukrainian HIMARS strike is said to have killed at least 60 Russian troops who were gathered in an open field this week, adding to other accounts of Russia losing troops put in vulnerable positions during the war.

Citing other reports, the BBC said Wednesday that the Russian battalion was congregated at a training area near the village of Trudovske in occupied eastern Ukraine when the two missiles struck.

The BBC said sources familiar with the incident told the outlet that the troops were gathered to await the arrival of a senior commander.

Alexander Osipov, the acting regional governor of nearby Transbaikalia, confirmed the strike in a Tuesday Telegram post, providing details about the missile attack and information for the troops' family members.

Osipov identified the affected battalion as the 36th motorized rifle brigade but said information about the death count and details had been "greatly exaggerated."

Graphic video footage shared online by Yaroslav Trofimov, the chief foreign-affairs correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, showed dozens of bodies in a field.

The BBC said additional footage and estimates from troops who survived the strike suggested at least 60 died. It reported that surviving troops said in a video that their commanders had forced them to stand in the open field.

The BBC described reports as saying the men were waiting for Maj. Gen. Oleg Moiseyev, the commander of the 29th army of the eastern military region.

The BBC reported that the attack was said to have happened hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met in a televised appearance to celebrate military victories.

Ukraine hasn't commented on the strike. The BBC said a US-made HIMARS launch system was thought to have been used to fire the two missiles.

Russia has previously lost troops said to have been gathered in open areas.

In August, Ukraine said it launched a HIMARS attack on five Russian units gathered on a beach that resulted in 200 casualties and destroyed equipment.

"Massing your troops within striking range of the Ukrainians is unwise," Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy who is a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations, told Business Insider at the time.

Russia's military leaders faced similar flak in June after reports that a large Russian force was struck at a position near the front. Some accounts at the time suggested the troops had been gathered to await a general's pep talk before a dangerous mission.

Ukraine was criticized in November following a similar scenario in which 19 soldiers were killed by Russian missiles at an open-air awards ceremony near the front line.

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