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Battalion commander of 46th Brigade demoted after Washington Post interview and resigns

Thursday, 16 March 2023, 14:07
Battalion commander of 46th Brigade demoted after Washington Post interview and resigns

Anatolii "Kupol" Kozel was demoted from the post of combat battalion commander of the 46th Airmobile Brigade to deputy battalion commander of the training centre after giving a controversial interview to The Washington Post.

Source: Ukrainska Pravda sources in the 46th Brigade; Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post's Ukraine bureau chief, on Twitter 

Details: As UP’s sources noted, the decision to demote Kupol was made by the commander of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Major General Maksym Myrhorodskyi.


In response to the move, Kupol wrote a resignation letter.

Ukrainska Pravda has also asked the press service of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces to comment.

Commander Kupol was one of several interviewees of The Washington Post, which reported following the conversations that the Defence Forces of Ukraine had lost many of its most experienced fighters on the battlefield, and that the inexperience of new recruits, coupled with the lack of weapons, was allegedly reducing optimism and calling Kyiv’s readiness for the spring offensive into question.

The Washington Post's Ukraine bureau chief, Isabelle Khurshudyan, tweeted that Kupol had understood the risks of criticising the situation but gave the interview anyway.

"I’ve been in contact with Kupol. Facing reassignment, he has decided to leave his post. A really unfortunate development for an experienced commander who was speaking out because he wanted to see positive change in Ukraine’s armed forces," Isabelle Khurshudyan noted.

"And when Kupol and I sat down to do the interview, we discussed the fact that he would likely face some kind of professional reprisal for his comments. He felt it was worth the risk," she added.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, this is not the first time a serviceman in the 46th Brigade has been transferred after talking to the press.

After giving an interview to Ukrainska Pravda about the situation in Soledar, which the Ukrainian army left in January 2023, Oleksandr Pohrebyskyi, a sergeant with the Air Assault Forces, was transferred from the combat unit to the post of company chief instructor at a training centre of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"Military leaders don't like the truth and don't want to tackle systemic problems," the source told Ukrainska Pravda.

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