During a closed session of the Verkhovna Rada committee on national security, defense and intelligence, a representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) confirmed the reports that the Ukrainian army had been forced to abandon several previously held positions after the militants’ attack. This was reported by the first deputy chairperson of the committee, Mykhailo Zabrodskyi (European Solidarity party).
“We can talk about a list of questions that were asked by committee members. Firstly, and this is a crucial question, did or did we not abandon positions? About seven times this question was posed to the colonel, and the colonel publicly confirmed that positions really had been abandoned… Abandoned and not retaken,” said Zabrodskyi on February 19 after the committee session.
He pointed out that this contradicts previous statements by the leaders of the General Staff and the Defense Ministry that no Ukrainian positions had been lost.
According to the MP, it also came out during the session that, during the militants’ attack on Tuesday morning, the militants fired at Ukrainian positions for nearly half an hour before Ukraine’s artillery was able to respond.
“The information on casualties was confirmed: One of our soldiers was killed, four were wounded. Unfortunately, the General Staff representative was unable to explain how it transpired that, during the organized retreat, the body of our soldier remained in the combat zone. As a result, it is now in the enemy’s possession,” the European Solidarity party’s press service cites Zabrodskyi as saying.
According to the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) headquarters, on the morning of February 18, the militants attacked Ukrainian positions near the settlements of Novotoshkivske, Orekhovo, Krymske and Khutor Volny in the Luhansk region. The General Staff of the AFU reported that one Ukrainian soldier had been killed and five wounded.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zahorodniuk said that the JFO’s positions remained unchanged after the militants’ attack in the Luhansk region on February 18.