In a village near the front line in Zaporizhzhia, Russian forces have hit military of the Ukrainian 128th separate assault brigade with an Iskander-M missile, the Ministry of Defense and the Department of Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed.
According to unofficial reports, more than 20 soldiers died in a result of the missile strike.
"On Nov. 3, in the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russians shelled 26 settlements in the Zaporizhzhia, Pologovsky and Vasilyevsky districts. The personnel of the 128th separate mountain Assault Brigade were hit by an Iskander-M missile," the AUF Center of Strategic Communications reported almost 24 hours following the incident.
This was the first confirmation from the of the tragedy from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which has already been discussed in social networks for a day.
Ukrainian media, citing sources and social networks, had reported that the military in the frontline village gathered for an award ceremony on Artillery and Missile Forces Day.
"To honor the Missile Forces Day, the personnel of the 128th Brigade were assembled for an award ceremony in a frontline area. They were lined up when the Russians launched an attack, resulting in many casualties among the officers and soldiers," Ruslan Kaganets, commander of the Solnyshko volunteer battalion, wrote on Facebook.
The source of the "Ukrainska Pravda" outlet in the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed this information. According to him, more than 20 soldiers could have died as a result of the strike.
Commentators on social media ahave expressed outrage that the award ceremony was held in a frontline village, which is frequently subjected to missile strikes and therefore poses significant risks to large gatherings.
"In addition to the inspection, it is necessary to ban once and for all such formations with awards in the frontline regions at least. And ceremonies with rewards anywhere at all during the war," Yurii Smirnov wrote.
None of the officials have confirmed if the strike did indeed take place during an award ceremony.
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has expressed his condolences and promised to conduct an investigation in order to provide “honest answers to the families and friends of the victims."
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