SBI investigates alleged negligence in Ukrainian defense during Russian Kharkiv assault

Vovchansk, Kharkiv oblast
Vovchansk, Kharkiv oblast

Investigators are probing the circumstances surrounding a Russian military breakthrough in Kharkiv Oblast, interviewing Ukraine's military leaders and battlefield soldiers, Oleksandr Udovychenko, the First Deputy Director of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), disclosed in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

To thoroughly understand the incident, a significant amount of classified documentation needs to be reviewed, Udovychenko noted. "This involves a complicated procedure for their seizure, retrieval, and access for investigators and experts. These documents are numerous, specific, stored in various locations, and some are in active use, making them impossible to seize without disrupting frontline operations," he explained.

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So far, 104 individuals have been questioned in relation to the incident. "This includes military leadership, soldiers who were directly on the battlefield, and many others. Some were questioned three or four times," Udovychenko said, assuring that the investigation will be conducted objectively and expediently.

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"Every week, the leadership of one law enforcement body or another travels to the site to monitor the progress of the investigation," he added, emphasizing the commitment to transparency and cooperation to facilitate the inquiry.

If necessary, law enforcement has the authority to conduct searches if court-ordered temporary access to documents is not granted. "Imagine a search at a classified military facility during wartime; that's excessive. Thus, complete openness and cooperation are crucial," Udovychenko remarked.

The SBI launched the formal investigation on May 10, following a rapid advance by Russian forces attributed to the alleged abandonment of positions by the 125th Territorial Defense Brigade near several villages. This retreat forced the second echelon of defense to engage, resulting in significant Ukrainian losses in personnel and equipment.

Preliminary findings suggest a "negligent attitude towards military service" by the command of the 125th Brigade and its subordinate units, including failures in organizing defense effectively.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine