The Defense Department’s claim could not be immediately verified. Ukraine did not immediately comment on the Russian claim. The mayor of Kramatorsk, the eastern Ukrainian city Russia says was targeted, says no one was killed in an attack on several buildings in the city.

    “As a result of a massive rocket attack on these temporary deployments of Ukrainian army units, more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers were destroyed,” the official statement from the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    The ministry says it is in retaliation for a very deadly missile attack by the Ukrainian army on a Russian base on New Year’s Eve. In addition, the Ukrainians fired HIMARS missiles at a school building in Maijivka east of the city of Donetsk, where Russian soldiers were housed. According to Kiev, 400 people were killed, according to Moscow 89.

    If true, this would be the largest loss of Ukrainian troops since Russia invaded on February 24 last year.

    There were also missile strikes in other places. Yaroslav Yanushevych, the military leader of Kherson, said Russia used incendiary ammunition in the attack on Kherson last night. The use of such ammunition on civilian targets is prohibited under the Geneva Convention. There were no casualties in the attack on Kherson, according to Yanushevych.

    In addition to Kherson, the Zaporizhia and villages around Dnipro were also attacked by Russia. In Kharkiv there is said to be one victim.