Ukraine's HIMARS Strike Pro-Russia Group in Donetsk: Reports, Video

Ukraine's armed forces have targeted the base of a pro-Russian military group in a HIMARS rocket attack in Donetsk, according to Ukrainian reports.

The head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, Serhiy Gaidai, announced on Facebook that the base of the Pyatnashka battalion, formed in the wake of Russia annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, was ablaze on Monday.

"Right now, on the outskirts of Donetsk, either someone was smoking carelessly, or it was 'stones from the sky,'" Gaidai said. "The base of the famous 'Pyatnashka,' an international gang that fought in the Luhansk region, is on fire. A bunch of 200s and 300s. Destroyed fashionable equipment. There will be more."

Gaidai's "200s and 300s" remark is slang which references Russian military speak in which "Load-200" means coffins—or soldiers killed in action—and 300 referring to those who have been wounded.

Donetsk
Reports suggest the base of the Pyatnashka group was destroyed in Donetsk at night. Telegram

Ukrainian journalist Denys Kazanskyi also posted a video appearing to show smoke and explosions coming from the base on Telegram while saying the attack was carried out by U.S.-made HIMARS rockets.

"At night, the base of the so-called 'Pyatnashka' brigade was hit by a high-precision strike by the HIMARS in Donetsk," Kazanskyi wrote.

Videos reported to be showing the base under attack were also shared on Twitter. According to Ukrainian media, the explosions, which occurred around 4 a.m. local time, woke up residents of Donetsk.

Newsweek was not able to immediately verify the claims. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Russian Ministry of Defense have been contacted for comment.

Pyatnashka, a pro-Russia separatist group consisting of volunteers, has been fighting in Ukraine since 2014 when Crimea was seized by Russia.

The explosions on their base in Donetsk follow a number of counter attacks which have taken place against Russian military bases in occupied Crimea, including blasts which destroyed Russian warplanes at a Black Sea base.

A recent poll from the International Republican Institute (IRI) found that Ukrainians now expect their country to retake Crimea, as well as the eastern Donbas region, from Russia amid the war in Eastern Europe.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the 2,004 respondents also believe Ukraine will maintain all territories within its internationally recognized borders as defined in 1991.

Elsewhere, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) announced they have arrested two "enemy informers" in Donetsk who were allegedly leaking information detailing locations of planned HIMARS rocket attacks to Russia.

In a statement, the AFU said the pair gave information to the Russians, including the "exact coordinates of the location" of Ukraine military, as well as the combat positions of the HIMARS artillery systems.

Ukraine alleged that the information passed on by the two men resulted in Russia carrying out a rocket attack in the city of Selidove in the Donetsk region, which has since left the city with no water supply.

Updated 08/22/2022 9:32 a.m. ET: The Russian Ministry of Defense was contacted for comment.