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Zelensky grants hero status to Ukrainian POW killed by Russian troops

13.03.2023 08:00
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he has awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine to a soldier who was executed on camera after being captured by Russian forces. 
Volodymyr Zelensky.
Volodymyr Zelensky.PAP/EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Zelensky announced his decision in a video address to the nation on Sunday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

The soldier, identified as Oleksandr Igorevich Matsievsky by Ukraine’s security services, was apparently shot with automatic weapons by his Russian captors, after saying “Glory to Ukraine,” according to news reports.

The moment was captured on a graphic 12-second video that first circulated on the Telegram social messaging app last week, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

Zelensky said: “Today I conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine upon Oleksandr Matsiyevsky, a soldier. A man whom all Ukrainians will know. A man who will be remembered forever. For his bravery, for his confidence in Ukraine and for his ‘Glory to Ukraine!’"         

The Ukrainian president added: “Glory to the Hero! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to Ukraine!”

Russian defence ministry seeking to weaken Wagner Group: ISW

The conflict between Russia’s Ministry of Defence and the Wagner group of mercenaries has likely reached its climax against the backdrop of the intense, nine-month-long battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).  

In its latest report on the war in Ukraine, published on Sunday night, the US think tank wrote: “The Russian MoD – specifically Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the Russian General Staff General Valery Gerasimov – is likely seizing the opportunity to deliberately expend both elite and convict Wagner forces in Bakhmut in an effort to weaken [Wagner financier Yevgheny] Prigozhin and derail his ambitions for greater influence in the Kremlin.”

The ISW added that "the Russian MoD had been increasingly restricting Prigozhin’s ability to recruit convicts and secure ammunition, forcing Prigozhin to publicly recognize his dependency on the Russian MoD.”

According to the US experts, “the conflict between the Russian MoD and Wagner shows that different parties in Putin’s inner circle are competing with one another in potentially zero-sum games that do not further Putin’s overall objectives.”

The ISW assessed that “the Russian MoD is currently prioritizing eliminating Wagner on the battlefields in Bakhmut, which is likely slowing down the rate of advance in the area.”

Ukraine repels over 92 Russian assaults

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army on Sunday said it had repelled more than 92 Russian assaults in five areas over the previous 24 hours, according to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

Kraken, the special forces unit of Ukraine’s military intelligence, has announced that it has destroyed two military watchtowers in Russia's Bryansk and Kursk regions close to Ukraine's border, The Kyiv Independent reported on Sunday.   

A third tower was previously destroyed in the Bryansk region with a kamikaze drone on March 5, according to Kraken.   

There are reports of partisan attacks on a railway track in the Russian-occupied part of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region, the Ukrainian army’s National Resistance Center has said. 

A video shared by the Atesh partisan group appears to show a railway track between the settlements of Abrikosivka and Radensk being blown up, The Guardian reported on Sunday.

Monday is day 383 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. 


Source: PAP, president.gov.ua, The Guardian, understandingwar.org, The Kyiv Independent