One of Moscow’s top generals was killed during heavy fighting in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, according to Russian state media.
According to a reporter for the state-owned Rossiya 1, Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov was killed while leading an assault on a Ukrainian settlement in the region. According to Alexander Sladkov, Gen Kutuzov was commanding troops from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. The Russian defence ministry has not responded to the reports.
“The general had led soldiers into attack, as if there aren’t enough colonels,” Mr Sladkov wrote on the social media app Telegram. “However, Roman was the same commander as everyone else, albeit with a higher rank.”
Ukraine’s military also confirmed Gen Kutuzov’s death, but provided no additional information about the circumstances. His death follows reports on social media that a second senior officer, Lt Gen Roman Berdnikov, commander of the 29th Army, was killed in fighting over the weekend. The BBC has not been able to independently verify the claims.
Russian commanders have been increasingly pushed to the front lines in an effort to push the invasion forward, and Moscow has confirmed the deaths of four senior generals. Kyiv claims to have killed 12 generals, while Western intelligence officials claim to have killed at least seven senior commanders.
However, there has been some confusion about the deaths of several other Russian officers. Three generals who Ukrainian forces claimed to have killed have since been found alive.
Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov was killed outside the country’s second city of Kharkiv in March, according to Ukrainian forces. However, on May 23, Russian state media announced that he had been awarded a state honour and denied reports of his death.
Maj Gen Magomed Tushaev, another commander, appeared to be still alive and appears in social media videos on a regular basis.
Generals’ deaths are rarely officially acknowledged in Russia. Prior to Maj Gen Vladimir Frolov’s funeral in St Petersburg in April, no information about his death had appeared in state media.
Even in times of peace, Russia considers military deaths to be state secrets, and it has not updated its official casualty figures in Ukraine since March 25, when it stated that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed since President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24.