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Zelensky: Soldiers' deaths at award ceremony 'could have been avoided'

by Dominic Culverwell November 5, 2023 9:28 PM 2 min read
Military personnel stay in a dugout as the artillery unit of the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade serves in the Zaporizhzhia direction, southeastern Ukraine. Aug. 11, 2023 (Photo by Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukraine has launched an investigation into the deaths of soldiers in the 128th Mountain Assault Brigade and changes will be made in the military to address negligence, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his evening address on Nov. 5.

A Russian attack during a military award ceremony in Zaporizhzhia Oblast allegedly killed over 20 soldiers on Nov. 3, although the exact number is currently not confirmed.

Zelensky passed on his condolences to the relatives of those killed but mentioned that the tragedy “could have been avoided.”

“Defense Minister (Rustem) Umerov reported to me about the measures taken to find out all the circumstances of what happened, who specifically gave what orders. Criminal proceedings were also registered as a result of the tragedy,” the president said.

“The main thing is to establish the full truth about what happened, and to prevent this from happening again.”

The president promised to implement changes in the armed forces to address negligence, Soviet-era practices, and bureaucracy.

Zelensky also emphasized the importance of maintaining national unity in order to achieve victory over Russia's invasion.

The soldiers of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade attended a ceremony on Nov. 3 to receive honors on Ukraine's Missile Forces and Artillery Day.

Viktor Mykyta, governor of Zakarpattia Oblast where the brigade is traditionally based, wrote on Nov. 4 that "after official information and with the permission of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade, there will be an order to honor the fallen soldiers."

Defense Ministry to investigate award ceremony incident
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov called on the Defense Ministry to conduct a full investigation into an award ceremony held at the front lines, Minister Umerov announced on Facebook.
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