Vladimir Putin has lost his ninth general to the war in Ukraine along with 15,000 Russian troops killed over the course of the invasion, according to reports.
Major-General Andrei Simonov, 55, was killed during fighting in Izyum near Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv, Ukrainian sources claim.
The 55-year-old served with the 2nd Combined Arms Army and was Russia’s most respected electronics warfare commander, according to the Mirror.
He died in a ferocious Ukraine counter attack against a Russian offensive where more than 30 Russian armored vehicles were destroyed along with around 100 Russian troops, unconfirmed reports allege.
Along with the loss of nine generals, Putin’s army has also had 36 colonels kills in just over two months of combat in what military experts are calling an astonishing rate of attrition.
Losing senior military members can be a sign that an army is suffering from ill discipline as generals and colonels are required to take control of their forces on the front lines.
Putin has now sent his chief of defense staff General Valery Gerasimov to take personal command of the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Sinonov’s death alongside 100 Russian troops – and the reported loss of armored vehicles – indicates another setback for the Kremlin leader who aimed to declare the success of his mission on May 9, Victory Day in Russia, marking the anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
He is far from the only high profile military man to lose their life in the course of the invasion.
Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev, one of Putin’s most senior commanders and in charge of the 8th All-Military Army of the Kremlin’s vast Southern Military District, was killed at the beginning of March.
So was Colonel Sergei Sukharev, one of Russia’s top paratroop commanders and part of the country’s most elite fighting squads.
While the exact number of people killed during the war is difficult to determine, it is clear that Russia has endured far greater losses than it initially expected.
Last week UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace said that 15,000 Russian troops had died so far.
The rate of fatalities among the invading army’s number is now decreasing as the scope of the offensive is narrowed, a Western official told Reuters.
Having failed in an assault on Kyiv in the north of Ukraine last month, Russia is now trying to fully capture two eastern provinces known as the Donbas.
“The nature of the operations has been reduced in terms of geographic spread so the overall numbers are reducing,” one of the officials said on Russian casualties.
“But the level of casualties that we’re seeing in terms of those areas where they are engaging Ukrainian forces are still remaining quite high.”
Asked about Ukrainian casualties, he said there had been Ukrainian losses in the Donbas.
“They are taking some losses (but) certainly not at the sort of scale that Russian forces are taking,” the official said.
He added: “Those losses on Russian forces, we assessed to be having a significant impact on the will to fight of wider Russian forces, but the Ukrainian losses are not affecting the morale of the Ukrainian forces.”
Russia, which says it launched a “special operation” to demilitarize its neighbor, has not updated its official casualty figures in several weeks.
Today the UK’s Ministry of Defense predicted that a quarter of the battalions Russia sent into Ukraine had been rendered combat ineffective.
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