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19 Jul, 2022 14:57

Senior Ukrainian officers killed in Vinnitsa strike – reports

Kiev claimed that last week’s Russian attack targetted civilians
Senior Ukrainian officers killed in Vinnitsa strike – reports

Three Ukrainian officers, including two colonels, were reportedly taken out in last week’s Russian attack on the city of Vinnitsa in western Ukraine on July 14, according to local reports. Moscow says it targeted a building used for military purposes, a claim rejected by Kiev.  

The Minsk Suvorov Military Academy in Belarus said on its website that a former cadet, Ukraine’s Colonel Oleg Makarchuk, was killed in the Russian strike. According to the academy, Makarchuk previously served as the head of repairs and logistics in the Ukrainian Air Force. 

In April, Makarchuk was presented with an award by President Vladimir Zelensky for “defending the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The death of another military officer, Konstantin Puzyrenko, was reported by local authorities in the city of Berdichev in Ukraine’s western Zhitomir Region, and by news website Zhitomir Online. 

A post on Facebook about the funeral of Ukrainian Air Force Colonel Dmitry Burdiko said he was also killed in Vinnitsa on July 14. According to reports, Burdiko’s death was first announced by his son Konstantin in a now-deleted post on Instagram.

The Ukrainian government has not reported any military casualties resulting from the strike, but Vinnitsa Governor Sergey Borzov said on Tuesday that the death toll had risen to 25. Ukrainian media reported earlier that the victims included doctors from a nearby clinic and small children. 

On July 14, Russian warships launched cruise missiles at a high-rise building called ‘The House of Military Officers’. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that senior commanders of the Ukrainian Air Forces were inside, conducting a meeting with foreign arms suppliers.

The Ukrainian Air Force insisted that the building was “de jure” owned by the military, but “de facto” served as a civilian concert venue and housed cafes and other businesses. Zelensky argued that the Russian strike was tantamount to “terrorism.”  

Both Ukraine and Russia have repeatedly accused each other of attacking civilian targets, while claiming only to have hit military sites.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotyr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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