Battalion commander in 46th Air Assault Brigade demoted after Washington Post interview
Anatoliy "Kupol" (Photo:Армія FM)
Anatoliy Kozel, a battalion commander in the 46th Air Assault Brigade, who is being identified by his call sign, Kupol, has been reassigned to deputy commander after giving an interview to the Washington Post, the Ukrayinska Pravda media outlet reported on March 16.
In response, Kupol has offered to resign.
In the interview, Kupol stated that the Ukrainian army lacks ammunition. He also complained about the poor quality that training of newly mobilized soldiers receive to replace more experienced troops.
"The most valuable thing in war is combat experience. A soldier who has survived six months of combat and a soldier who came from a firing range are two different soldiers. It's heaven and earth. And there are only a few soldiers with combat experience. Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded,” The Washington Post quoted Kupol as saying.
The Ukrainian military has suggested Kupol’s demotion is because he did not seek and was not granted permission by his commanding officer to speak to the media.
Kupol is not the first Ukrainian soldier to be disciplined for speaking to the media.
Sergeant with the Air Assault Forces Oleksandr Pohrebyskyi, who is also a member of Kyiv City Council, was demoted from the combat unit to company chief instructor at a training center of the AFU following an interview to Ukrainska Pravda on the situation in Soledar that was encircled and seized by Russian troops in January 2023.
Addressing Kupol’s demotion in a Facebook post, Pohrebyskyi wrote that his favorite commander was punished for the truth the same as he was. He also wrote that Kupol was an excellent commander, beloved by every soldier.
Anonymous German officials have estimated Ukrainian losses at 120,000 dead and wounded, the Washington Post article said.
The outlet emphasized that it is difficult to see the full picture of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' combat capabilities as Kyiv prepares its troops for the upcoming counteroffensive.
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