Ukraine war: Another Russian General killed by Ukrainian forces

Two Russian soldiers walk towards armoured cars

Russian state media has confirmed the death of one of Moscow’s top generals during heavy fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov was killed leading an assault on a Ukrainian settlement in the region, a reporter with the state-owned Rossiya 1 said.

Alexander Sladkov said Gen Kutuzov had been commanding troops from the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

Russia’s defence ministry has not commented on the reports.

“The general had led soldiers into attack, as if there are not enough colonels,” Mr Sladkov wrote on the Telegram social media app. “On the other hand, Roman was the same commander as everyone else, albeit a higher rank.”

Ukraine’s military also confirmed the killing of Gen Kutuzov, without offering further details about the circumstances.

His death comes as rumours circulated on social media that a second senior officer, Lt Gen Roman Berdnikov, commander of the 29th Army, was also killed in fighting over the weekend. The BBC cannot independently verify the claims.

Russian commanders have been increasingly forced to the front in an attempt to drive forward the invasion and Moscow has confirmed the deaths of three senior generals.

Kyiv claims to have killed 12 generals and Western intelligence officials say at least seven senior commanders have been killed.

But there has been confusion over reports of the deaths of several other Russian officers. Three generals that Ukrainian forces claimed to have killed have subsequently been reported to be alive.

In March, Ukrainian forces said Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov had been killed outside the country’s second city of Kharkiv. However, on 23 May Russian state media said he had been awarded a state honour and dismissed reports of his death.

Another commander, Maj Gen Magomed Tushaev, also appeared to be still alive and periodically appears in videos posted to social media.

And on 18 March, Kyiv alleged that Lt Gen Andrey Mordvichev had been killed in an airstrike in the Kherson region. However, he later appeared in a video meeting with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and on 30 May it was later confirmed that he is alive.

The deaths of generals are rarely officially acknowledged in Russia. In the case of Maj Gen Vladimir Frolov, no information about his death had appeared in state media prior to his funeral in St Petersburg in April.

Russia lists military deaths as state secrets even in times of peace and has not updated its official casualty figures in Ukraine since 25 March, when it said that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed since President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

In March, an official within President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inner circle told the Wall Street journal that a team of Ukrainian military intelligence officers had been tasked with locating and targeting Russia’s officer class.

“They look for high profile generals, pilots, artillery commanders,” the official said. They added that the officers were then targeted either with sniper fire or artillery.

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