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Ukrainian military brigade claims that 19 of its soldiers were killed last week in a Russian air strike

On Monday, a Ukrainian military brigade confirmed that 19 of its soldiers lost their lives in a Russian airstrike last week, an incident President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as “a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

Ukrainian media outlets reported that the casualties occurred during an awards ceremony on Friday in the Zaporizhzhia region, a frontline area in southeastern Ukraine.

In a statement issued on Monday, the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade provided the death toll but offered limited additional information.

Ukraine’s defense minister announced on Saturday that an investigation had been initiated into the attack. Additionally, Ukraine’s military stated that Russia had struck the Zaporizhzhia region with an Iskander ballistic missile.

It’s essential to note that Reuters has not independently verified the details of the attack. In response to the incident, Russia’s Defense Ministry stated that its forces had engaged Ukrainian troops in the region and had killed as many as 30 military personnel.

On Monday, Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigations revealed that it was looking into a decision by the military command to organize an event for Rocket and Artillery Day in a village near the front line in Zaporizhzhia, without specifying the nature of the event.

Zelenskiy expressed the importance of establishing the complete truth about the incident and preventing such tragedies from occurring in the future. He emphasized the necessity for the investigation to provide honest answers to the families of the fallen soldiers and the wider society regarding how this tragic event transpired and whether any improper orders were given.

In early June, Kyiv initiated a counteroffensive in southeastern Ukraine, but its progress has been slow due to the presence of well-entrenched Russian forces, who invaded Ukraine in February 2022.


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