On New Year’s Eve, Ukrainian artillery targeted the Moscow-occupied Donbass city of Makiivka. A school building, which serves as quarters for the occupiers, is hit hard by rockets. Russian war bloggers fear more than 100 deaths.

According to Russian sources, on New Year’s Eve the Ukrainian military shelled the town of Makiivka and other places in the Moscow-held parts of the Donetsk region. A military headquarters was reportedly hit, killing several people. At least 25 rockets were fired at the region, the occupation administration deployed by Moscow in the Donetsk region said.

The Russian state news agency TASS quoted the administration as saying that at least 15 people were injured in a series of HIMARS missile attacks in the city of Makiivka. There was an attack on a vocational school that served as quarters for military personnel, said Daniil Bezsonov, information minister of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”. The attack happened two minutes after midnight on New Year’s Day. According to Russian war bloggers, there were a large number of newly mobilized soldiers in the school. Accordingly, the number of fatalities is estimated at 60 to 100 men. The information cannot be independently verified.

The HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) is a lightweight US multiple rocket launcher manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The prototype was presented in 1999 and development was completed in 2002. With an unladen weight of 13.5 tons and normal tires, it can reach speeds of up to 95 km/h on the road, depending on the production series. At least 20 HIMARS are said to have been delivered to Ukraine so far. More are to follow.

Military experts praise the rocket launcher system as a “game changer” in the Ukraine war. Since the summer, the Ukrainian armed forces have been successfully using the weapon against the Russian invaders. According to the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), HIMARS played a crucial role in the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson region. Through the targeted shelling of bridges and depots, Kyiv succeeded in permanently disrupting Russian supplies. Most of the fire attacks happened in the later hours of the day, which is why the term “hour HIMARS” became common in social media.