Ukraine claims second Russian general killed in battle
Ukraine has claimed that a Russian general was killed in battle near Kharkiv, though the Pentagon has not been able to confirm the statement, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov — a “chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Army of the Central Military District of Russia” — was allegedly killed along with a “number of senior Russian army officers,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement released Monday.
But the United States “cannot confirm that that general has been killed,” the defense official told reporters.
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 Russia 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.”
Russian state media has not released a statement on the claims.
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.
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