Russia state TV confirms death of top commander

Russian state TV confirmed on Friday that one of its top commanders died in in Ukraine, CNN reported.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense claimed on Twitter that its soldiers “eliminated” Col. Sergei Sukharev, commander of the elite 331st Guards Airborne Regiment.

“He took part in the Battle of Ilovaysk in 2014 and 2015, where he committed a war crime,” the ministry said, referring to the conflict which saw pro-Ukrainian paramilitaries attempt to capture and restore control over the city.

“The Last Judgment to announce its verdict soon,” it added.  

Russian television network GTRK Kostroma, citing the Regional Military Commissariat, confirmed that Sukharev had died along with several other members of the unit. 

The service members “gave their lives for the security of [Russia],” GTRK Kostroma reported the Commissariat saying, according to CNN.

Confirmation of the death follows several reports of top Russian generals dying in the invasion, which is now 23 days old.   

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Thursday that the U.S. believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin “may be growing more desperate” as Ukraine mounts fierce resistance against his invasion.

He said that Moscow could be laying the groundwork to use a chemical weapon and then blame Ukraine so it could justify escalating its attacks.

Ukraine last week claimed that Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, who was a “chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Army of the Central Military District of Russia,” had been killed along with other senior Russian army officers.

This followed Russian state media confirming that Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, had been killed a week prior.

On Tuesday, Ukraine’s interior ministry claimed that Maj. Gen. Oleg Mityaev, who commanded the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, died as Russian troops stormed Mariupol, The Associated Press reported.

Tags Antony Blinken Russia Sergei Sukharev Ukraine Ukraine-Russia conflict Vladimir Putin

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