Ukraine military under pressure over deadly strike

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Ukraine’s military chiefs are facing growing criticism over a recent Russian missile strike that is believed to have caused heavy Ukrainian casualties.

Ukrainian media and Russian military bloggers say more than 20 Ukrainian soldiers were killed at Friday’s award ceremony near the southern frontlines.

Ukraine’s military has not yet given casualty figures of what it says was a “tragedy” in the Zaporizhzhia region.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the incident “could have been avoided”.

“Criminal proceedings have been initiated,” the Ukrainian leader added in a post on social media on Sunday.

“Every soldier in the combat zone – in the enemy’s line of fire and aerial reconnaissance – knows how to behave in the open, how to ensure safety.”

A number of Ukrainian soldiers and military experts say the ceremony should not have taken place in a strike-risk area.

They say Ukrainian officers should have been aware that Russian drones are constantly monitoring Ukrainian troops’ activities near the frontlines to guide air and artillery strikes.

Drone footage has now emerged on a Russian Telegram channel purportedly showing the moment of the deadly strike on what looked like a open-air ceremony.

A number of bodies believed to be those of Ukrainian soldiers are also seen lying on the ground.

Russia’s military has not officially commented on the attack.

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