Military police investigate mistreatement of servicemen taking part in holiday ceremony in Mariupol on Dec. 31

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak instructed the Military Law Enforcement Service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to investigate inadequate transportation of Ukrainian soldiers, who took part in holiday ceremony in Mariupol on Dec. 31 and conditions of their further stay at the Mariupol airport.

Censor.NET reports citing the statement by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

According to the agency, Minister Poltorak will take appropriate action against the responsible officers whose guilt will be proved by the investigation.

As reported, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and a delegation of U.S. senators visited a command post in the vicinity of Shyrokyne village (Mariupol direction of the anti-terrorist operation zone) Dec. 31 to wish the troops a Happy New Year. 15 Ukrainian soldiers were decorated with the state awards during the holiday ceremony.

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Both servicemen and volunteers reported about inappropriate conditions they turned out to be in.

Mortar squad commander Lera Burlakova wrote a few minutes before the New Year:

"The president has awarded us. (I will later write about those hellish two days spent in the freezing cold when coffee was "available only for generalship." I am not talking about the battles at the Svitlodarsk salient). As I was decorated with a medal, I dared to ask him for a helicopter, so we would be able to get to our position to join our guys before the New Year.

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"We were promised a chopper. But the weather conditions suddenly turned out to be unsuitable for taking us back regardless of the fact that more important people were able to leave Mariupol by air earlier... The bus, which we could use to get back at least in 5-8 hours, was gone too (by the way, we arrived there by KrAZ military truck without heating, but it was also not available).

"I am crying as I stay at the Mariupol airport. It ' s just perfect holiday celebration," she wrote.

Volunteer Olha Batahova clarified that the exhausted soldiers stayed in inadequate conditions till 11 a.m. Jan. 1 and were then taken back to the forefront.

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"There were about a hundred background soldiers (for a news piece) and 15 heroes who distinguished themselves in action at the Svitlodarsk salient. There were three women among them. These 15 military recommended for decoration were taken from the front line. They felt cold and were exhausted as they were travelling by an open truck. The soldiers then underwent ceremonial drill at the Mariupol airport and were finally awarded.

"The ceremony ended around 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 and no one cared about the heroes anymore. They were left in the empty airport hungry and fatigued. After that, they were driven together into a cold hangar like cattle. This is where the heroes awarded by the president celebrated the New Year. A bus fetched them around 11 a.m. and brought to Bakhmut. The soldiers were forced to get to their positions on their own," the activist wrote.

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/n422027