Espreso. Global

Ukraine investigates improper defense, leading to Russian offensive into Kharkiv region

25 May, 2024 Saturday

The State Bureau of Investigation is probing the negligent attitude to service that led to the Russian troops' advance in the Kharkiv region, including the commanders of the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade


This is reported by the BBC, citing a court order, Espreso reports.

According to investigators, on 10 May, near Strilecha, Krasne, Borysivka, Pylyne, Hatyshche and other settlements in Kharkiv region, units of the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade abandoned their combat positions during Russian assaults. The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) also notes that the command of the 125th Brigade did not organize the defense of its positions on the border with Russia.

"In addition, it was established that the command of the 125th Brigade and its subordinate units... due to negligence in military service, did not properly organize the defense of positions on the border of the Kharkiv region and the Russian Federation, which led to the loss of these positions, military equipment and personnel of the unit," the document says.

In total, the case file contains the names of 28 servicemen (the commander of the operational and tactical group, the brigade commander, battalion commanders, company commanders, and the head of the headquarters intelligence department) whose involvement is being checked by the SBI.

The court allowed the SBI office in Poltava to seize a number of secret documents, including combat orders, operational directives, and a plan of fortifications.

Meanwhile, the 125th Brigade stated that they are awaiting the results of the investigation and noted: "The brigade is performing combat missions, and the law enforcement agency should comment on the investigation."

On May 9-10, the Russian military again invaded the northern districts of Kharkiv region, which were liberated in 2022. The Russian forces seized several villages in the border area, and now the battle for the town of Vovchansk is underway. 

After the Russian offensive began, the statements of Denys Yaroslavsky, commander of the Armed Forces reconnaissance company, who said he wanted to know what happened to Ukraine's defense, made headlines: “There was no first line of defense. We saw it. The Russians just walked in. They just came in, without any mined fields.”

Regarding the fortifications, the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, Oleh Syniehubov, said in an interview with the BBC that the Regional Military Administration was building a third line of defense, and in some places a second line. According to him, the first line and the main part of the second line are the responsibility of the Armed Forces and those military units that hold these positions.

"No first line of defense": what is known

On May 12, a Facebook post from the scene by Denys Yaroslavsky, a commander of a reconnaissance company from Kharkiv, became widely known. Yaroslavsky noted that there was no first line of fortifications or mines on this section of the frontline.

"I know that servicemen of the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade who left their positions are already giving statements that they were given acts of acceptance for the fortifications that were not even 30% complete. I hope that those responsible will be punished," the commander added.

Later, the command of the 125th Brigade denied the information about the retreat from the positions in Kharkiv region. The brigade commander called the situation in the Kharkiv region difficult but under control, and called the enemy's success conditional.

"I responsibly declare that the situation in the defense zone of our brigade is difficult but under control. The units of the 125th  Territorial Defense Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are repelling the enemy's superior forces, maintaining stability in combat order. The settlements entered by the enemy were in a permanent "grey zone", and therefore the enemy's success is rather conditional and costs Russia huge losses in equipment and manpower. The territory occupied by the enemy is localized, and it is constantly under fire!" said Artur Horbenko and called for gratitude and support for the Defense Forces. 

A few days later, DeepState analysts provided facts about the soldiers of the 125th Lviv Brigade and their contribution to the defense of Hlyboke-Zelene. The analysts emphasized that they would only talk about the soldiers who had directly participated and are still participating in the fighting in a particular area of the frontline.

As for the brigade's fighters themselves, DeepState pointed out that there were facts of the withdrawal of certain units - separate rifle battalions and reserve companies, which “on paper” were combat groups, but in reality were filled with partially fit and retired soldiers.

"At the same time, the main forces of the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade continue to resist. The soldiers held out and waited for the reserve units to arrive, preventing the front from collapsing. We are not talking about brigade command now, let the operational command deal with it, but the infantry of the 125th did everything in their power in the face of the superior enemy," the statement said. 

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