“The military was killed and local residents were also injured to varying degrees,” the ministry said, without providing the death toll, circumstances or precise location of the attack.
A member of the 128th Brigade, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said the missile hit the brigade as it gathered in the village of Zarychne, near the front line, for a ceremony. presentation of medals in honor of the country’s artillery and army. Day of the Missile Forces.
“I cannot give the exact number of victims,” said the soldier. “What we heard in the first minutes after the strike was 22 people. But then one of the platoon commanders who was at the ceremony said there were more than 30 people.”
The Washington Post could not independently verify reports about the strike.
The brigade member also said that the brigade’s artillery chief and “many officers” were killed. “All the artillery units, the best crews, were gathered,” he said.
He also appeared to blame his unit’s leaders for the lack of security. “It’s a mistake by the command, because they should have said, ‘Okay, let’s hand out awards to people by units and meet in the trenches,’” he said. “Long story short, we just relaxed and it didn’t take long to crush us.”
“The ‘Eye of Sauron’ is watching you constantly, and anything more than three people is a fat target,” he added, referring to the all-seeing evil ruler in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings novels.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, in a Facebook post on Saturday night, called what happened “a tragedy,” without providing further details, and said he was ordering a “full investigation” into the incident.
Unverified photographs on social media showed burning cars and bodies lying along a dirt road in the village after the attack.
Viktor Mykyta, governor of the southwestern region of Transcarpathia, where the 128th Brigade is usually based, announced a three-day mourning period starting Monday, during which flags will be flown at half-mast and one minute of mourning will be observed. silence in the morning. and “religious services will be held in churches of various denominations in the region.”
“I advise you to visit the shrines and pray for our defenders,” Mykyta wrote on social media on Saturday night.
Transcarpathia is a small, largely rural, mountainous region with a population of just over a million and bordering Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The 128th Brigade has its headquarters in Mukachevo, the second largest city in the region.
The attack on the brigade follows an attack last month during the funeral of a Ukrainian soldier in the eastern town of Hroza, in which 52 people were killed. Most of those who died were civilians, including the widow and relatives of the dead soldier; It was unclear whether Russian forces expected military personnel to be present. Many villagers said they suspected that a Russian sympathizer living among them informed the Russian military about the planned meeting.
Russian missile attack on Ukraine funeral overwhelmingly killed civilians
Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s military chief, said in an interview published this week that modern military equipment allows both sides in the Russian conflict to easily identify concentrations of opposing forces.
“The simple fact is that we see everything the enemy is doing and they see everything we are doing,” he told The Economist.