Ukraine war: To bring comfort and answers to the bereaved families, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded an explanation for the missile strike that killed soldiers on Friday during an awards ceremony. Nineteen troops were killed in a Russian attack close to the front line in the Zaporizhzhia area, according to a Ukrainian military unit.
“Our best fighters have been killed,” the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade said in a statement.
Many people have expressed shock that the ceremony could take place so close to the fighting lines.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the incident “could have been avoided”.
“Criminal proceedings have been initiated,” the Ukrainian leader added in a post on social media on Sunday.
“Every soldier in the combat zone—in the enemy’s line of fire and aerial reconnaissance—knows how to behave in the open, how to ensure safety.”
There should never have been a celebration in a strike-risk region, according to several Ukrainian soldiers and military specialists.
They claim that in order to direct air and artillery strikes, Russian drones are continuously observing the actions of Ukrainian forces close to the frontlines, and this should have been known to Ukrainian officers.
Recently, drone footage supposedly captures the moment of the deadly hit, during what looks to be an outdoor event, on a Russian Telegram channel.
There are also other bodies seen on the ground, which are thought to be those of Ukrainian forces.
The Russian military has not formally addressed the incident.
Rustem Umerov, the minister of defense for Ukraine, had earlier verified rumors that the attack had claimed the lives of 128th Mountain Assault Brigade soldiers.
He declared the situation to be a “tragedy” and demanded a “full investigation”.
In the meanwhile, the strike was carried out by a Russian short-range ballistic missile, the Iskander-M, according to Ukraine’s Strategic Command (StratCom). Numerous non-combatants suffered injuries.
President Zelensky expressed his desire to “establish the complete truth about what happened and prevent such incidents from happening again” in a statement.
The westernmost Transcarpathia region of Ukraine, where many of the dead are thought to have originated, has announced three days of mourning.
Though sources in Ukrainian media claim it was a community close to the front line, Kyiv Military has not publicly disclosed the strike’s location.
It was the village of Dymytrovo, which Ukraine renamed Zarichne in 2016, according to Russian bloggers.
It’s thought that the onslaught began as Ukrainian troops observed Artillery Day, honoring those who serve in the artillery and missile divisions of the armed forces.
The commander of Sonechko (Sun), a volunteer battalion in Ukraine, Ruslan Kahanets, stated on Facebook on Saturday that there was “a pile of dead officers and soldiers” in the aftermath. He also uploaded pictures of dead soldiers and burned cars.
Additionally, a video with a Ukrainian soldier who appears to be from a nearby brigade publicly criticizing officers for planning the celebration has surfaced.
According to the unidentified soldier, “everyone who is here will tell you this,” front-line villages are being hit “methodically and regularly.”
“As a result of this [ceremony] line-up, many Ukrainian defenders and civilians died” .
Since “everyone on the front lines knows that a crowd of more than two people always provokes a ‘arrival’ [air strike],” he questions the officers who had organized the gathering.
Recognized Ukrainian soldier Serhiy Sternenko proposed on Saturday a life sentence for the commander in charge of the ceremony.
“There have already been many similar incidents. Unfortunately. Without systemic changes, there will be more such incidents,” he said.
Numerous Ukrainian social media users have also expressed their ire and called for the organizers of the ceremony to face consequences.
“Who brought them there, and why is the name of this individual being hidden? Who took the initiative? Are these individuals now being looked into?” Someone wrote.
Another asked: “How was it possible to gather ALL our warriors in one place?”
The military chiefs of Ukraine should now “think why such incidents have become more frequent,” according to a Russian military blogger.
Another blogger who supported the Kremlin stated that “Earlier, Ukrainians had repeatedly “punished” Russians in a similar manner. We soon stopped huddling and started staring up at the sky, forgetting even to line up outside.
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