President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the suspension of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade’s commander, Dmytro Lysyuk, during the investigation into the death of 19 soldiers from a Russian strike during celebrations near the front line on Nov. 3.

On Monday, the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade (OGShb) made the first official statement from the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) since the Russian attack of Nov. 3 on the brigade’s personnel with an Iskander-M missile in the Zaporizhzhia region.

The soldiers were killed while gathered for an official award ceremony in a frontline village organized by brigade officers to commemorate Missile Forces Day.

President Zelensky stated in his evening address to Ukrainians: “I chaired a Staff meeting where the first issue discussed was the tragedy involving our 128th separate mountain assault brigade.”

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He said Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov, Chief of the Security Services (SBU) Vasyl Maliuk, and Ministry of Defense Inspector Ihor Voronchenko presented reports on “the details of the tragedy and the individuals responsible for the events.”

Umerov had previously directed the Chief Inspectorate of the Ministry of Defense to investigate the incident.

“The brigade commander has been suspended for the duration of the investigation,” Zelensky said.

“The entire situation is being analyzed minute by minute. And it will be determined the specific individuals responsible for the safety breach within the enemy’s air reconnaissance access area,” Zelensky said, adding that no one will evade responsibility.

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The General Staff said that Lysyuk’s suspension from office was in line with the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of the AFU, Valery Zaluzhny.

“The investigation materials will be handed over to law enforcement agencies upon completion. We urge media representatives to rely on information from official sources,” the General Staff stated.

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The State Bureau of Investigation (DBR) also announced the registration of “criminal proceedings in connection with the deaths of military personnel and civilians during the shelling of a residential area in the Zaporizhzhia region.”

The DBR said that both members of the 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade and civilians were killed and injured during the Russian strike.

According to the DBR, approximately 30 houses and agricultural structures near the impact zone were damaged by the blast wave and debris.

Immediately after the attack, social media commentators expressed dismay that such a ceremony was conducted in a vulnerable area regularly targeted by missile strikes, raising concerns about the safety of large gatherings.

The commander of the Solnyshko volunteer battalion, Ruslan Kaganets, claimed on Facebook that the event was disrupted by a Russian attack, leading to numerous casualties among the officers and soldiers.

DBR officials said its proceedings have been initiated under Part 4 of Art. 425 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which pertains to the “negligent behavior of a military official toward their duties.”

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