The United States does not regret the mass casualties of Russian soldiers in the Ukrainian attack on Makeevka, the White House said.
The New Year attack hit a building in the occupied eastern Ukrainian town of Makiivka that had been used as a barracks. Russia officially admitted there were 89 deaths – an unusually high number – while Ukraine’s military estimated nearly 400 soldiers had died.
Following accusations by Russia about the use of US-supplied weapons by Ukrainian defenders, including in the Makiivka strike, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Russia was to blame.
There is “no remorse on the part of the administration. This is a war. They (Ukrainians) have been attacked and they are fighting back and defending themselves,” Kirby said. “Russian soldiers on their soil are legitimate targets for the Ukrainian military, period.”
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Kirby did not provide a casualty estimate for the attack, which all sides agree was fatal, even by the bloody standards of the now more than 10-month-old Russian invasion.
“I will not go into the number of victims. This is war. And right now it’s in a particularly bloody stage,” he said.
Kirby also declined to comment on the role of the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) MLRS in the attack.
“We are and will continue to provide them with the kinds of systems and assistance they need to protect themselves.” And yes, it has included HIMARS in the past and may include more HIMARS in the future,” Kirby said. “Let’s be really crystal clear. This is Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Kirby said.
He dismissed as “absolute nonsense” claims by President Vladimir Putin that Russia’s war is really against the United States, against the West in general, or is an “existential threat.
“This is about a Russian invasion of Ukraine. And Russia is the one that started it. It is Russia that is killing the Ukrainian people.”