A Russian general has been killed in fighting around Kharkiv, Ukrainian intelligence has claimed, which would make him the second general the Russian army has lost in Ukraine in a week.
The intelligence arm of the Ukrainian defence ministry said Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of the 41st Army, had been killed outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, along with other senior officers.
The ministry also broadcast what it claimed was a conversation between two Russian FSB officers discussing the death and complaining that their secure communications were no longer functioning inside Ukraine.
Ukraine’s statement, which did not say how or when Gerasimov was killed, said the military commander was a veteran of Russian campaigns in Chechnya, Syria and the annexation of Crimea.
Should it be accurate, Gerasimov’s death would make him the second Russian general killed in the now 13-day incursion into Ukraine.
Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was killed last week, according to Russian state media.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also said they had obtained data that would indicate “significant problems with communication” within Russia’s army as well as issues “with the evacuation of their broken units.”
U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers Tuesday that Russia is likely to escalate its military actions in Ukraine even as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ability to maintain long-term influence over its neighbor remains unlikely.
“We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose, but what he might be willing to accept as a victory may change over time given the significant costs he is incurring,” National Intelligence Director Avril Haines told lawmakers at the annual worldwide threats hearing.
Ukraine says its forces have killed more than 11,000 Russian troops.
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