A Russian general has been killed near the besieged city of Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian officials, making him the second senior Russian commander to die in the invasion.
Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, the first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army, died on Monday alongside other senior officials.
The Kremlin has been distracted by logistical issues and Ukrainian military commanders have claimed that the advance of Russia has been slowed by heavy losses and the “demoralisation” of its troops.
According to US intelligence, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has committed all of its troops congregated on the border into battle without making any significant territorial gains since late last week.
Russian forces are “demoralised and increasingly tend to looting and violations of international humanitarian law,” Ukrainian commanders said.
If the claims are verified, Gerasimov would become the second Russian general from the 41st army to die within a week.
Andrei Sukhovetsky was reportedly killed at the end of February.
Gerasimov was a decorated officer, having served during the second Chechen war, Russia’s activity in Syria, and the annexation of Crimea.
Bellingcat, an investigative journalism agency, said it had confirmed his death, which emerged after an alleged conversation between two Russian FSB officers was broadcast by the intelligence arm of the Ukrainian defence ministry.
The leaked conversation suggests Russia’s expensive new encrypted messaging service is already struggling to work, which would be a major blow for the Kremlin.
“Era is a super expensive cryptophone system that [Russia’s defence ministry] introduced in 2021 with great fanfare … guaranteed [to] work ‘in all conditions,'” said Christo Grozev, Bellingcat’s director.
Mr Grozev said that during the phone call, an FSB officer assigned to the 41st army reported the death to a senior official, saying they had lost all secure communications.
Comment: Well, nothing so improves troop morale as a general killed in the front line. It shows that the brass hats are sharing the risk.
I wonder if this fellow was kin to the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces. pl