Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov disclosed the findings of the investigation by the Chief Inspectorate of the ministry into the circumstances surrounding the Russian missile attack on the 128th separate mountain assault brigade.
Umerov had previously tasked the Chief Inspectorate with probing the incident.
"Now we know, minute by minute, what happened and how it happened. We found out what led to the tragedy and how it could have been avoided," noted the head of the ministry on his Facebook page on Tuesday, November 14.
He said the brigade's soldiers were assembled in the yard of a house for an honours ceremony and that standard security protocols were neglected.
At that time, a Russian reconnaissance drone was in the sky and detected, the minister revealed. An air alert was declared throughout the region.
"The military was alerted about the sector in which the enemy UAV was operating. Once the missile launch was identified, the 'missile threat' signal was transmitted. However, no centralized security measures were implemented at the location of the award ceremony," he said.
He added that the investigation in this case is ongoing, promising a punishment according to the law for "all those responsible for this tragedy."
"I instruct the General Staff to audit the units' security protocols. I appeal to all commanders who are responsible for the safety of soldiers: disregard for basic safety measures is unacceptable," the minister said.
Earlier, 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.
The soldiers were killed while gathered for an official award ceremony in a frontline village organized by brigade officers to commemorate Missile Forces Day.
The General Staff stated that Lysyuk’s suspension from office was in line with the decision of the Commander-in-Chief of the AFU, Valery Zaluzhny.
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."
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."
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.
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