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Russia has lost another of its generals in the war in Ukraine, Kyiv military sources said, as Ukraine inflicts punishing losses on Moscow’s war machine.  

Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, 48, commander of the army’s 49th combined arms division, became the fifth general to be killed after being taken out in a strike by the Ukrainian armed forces, sources in Kyiv said.

The general’s death means the Russian army has now lost a staggering 16 military commanders in a month, as Putin‘s invading forces suffer heavy losses at the hands of dogged Ukrainian defenders.

Rezantsev, who bragged on just the fourth day of the war that it would be over in a matter of hours, was apparently killed after the Ukrainian army destroyed the commanding post of the 49th Russian Army in southern Ukraine. 

Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, 48, commander of the army's 49th combined arms division, was killed in a strike by the Ukrainian armed forces, sources in Kyiv said

Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, 48, commander of the army's 49th combined arms division, was killed in a strike by the Ukrainian armed forces, sources in Kyiv said

Lieutenant General Yakov Rezantsev, 48, commander of the army’s 49th combined arms division, was killed in a strike by the Ukrainian armed forces, sources in Kyiv said

It is not clear the exact location of the strike. 

A soldier claimed Rezantsev told them on the fourth day of their deployment: ‘It’s no secret to anyone that there are only a few hours until this special operation is over.’

‘And now those hours are still going.’

Despite mobilising a force of between 150,000 and 200,000 Russian troops, Moscow has failed to anticipate anything other than weak resistance by the Ukrainian forces – likely owing to Russian intelligence failures.  

A senior NATO military officer said the alliance estimates that Russia has suffered between 30,000 and 40,000 battlefield casualties in Ukraine through the first month of the war, including between 7,000 and 15,000 killed.  

Rezantsev is the fifth Russian general that Ukraine claims to have killed since Russia invaded their country.

Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 47, commander of the army’s 150th motorised rifle division, died fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol while Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, 45, was killed on March 7 outside the eastern city of Kharkiv.

Meanwhile Major-General Andrey Kolesnikov, Commander of the Guards Tank Kantemirovskaya Division, was also killed in fighting on March 11 and Major-General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, was killed during a special operation by a sniper on March 3. 

Blunders early on in the campaign including poor planning and logistics that saw vehicles stall due to breakdowns, run out of fuel and get bogged down in mud are thought to be behind the eye-watering officer death toll – as commanders were forced to the front to fix the problems before being picked off by Ukrainians.

Moscow has remained tight-lipped about its losses in Ukraine, having only acknowledged the death of one general and around 500 men. The West puts the figure between 7,000 and 15,000, amounting to punishing losses for Putin.

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov of the 29th Combined Arms Army was killed last week in another blow to the Kremlin

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov of the 29th Combined Arms Army was killed last week in another blow to the Kremlin

Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was killed in Ukraine

Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was killed in Ukraine

Major-General Andrey Kolesnikov (left), Commander of the Guards Tank Kantemirovskaya Division, was also killed in fighting on March 11 and Major-General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, (right) was killed during a special operation by a sniper on March 3

Oleg Mityaev, 47, major general of the Russian army - commander of the elite 150th motorized rifle division, reportedly died in Ukraine

Oleg Mityaev, 47, major general of the Russian army - commander of the elite 150th motorized rifle division, reportedly died in Ukraine

Major General Vitaly Petrovich Gerasimov was killed on 7 March outside the eastern city of Kharkiv

Major General Vitaly Petrovich Gerasimov was killed on 7 March outside the eastern city of Kharkiv

Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 47, (left) commander of the army’s 150th motorised rifle division, died fighting in the besieged city of Mariupol while Major General Vitaly Gerasimov (right) was killed on March 7 outside the eastern city of Kharkiv

To put the figures in context, it means Russian forces suffering the same casualties in three weeks of fighting in Ukraine as all US forces killed in Afghanistan and Iraq in two decades. 

Putin is thought to have planned for a short and sharp invasion lasting only a few days, aimed at decapitating the government and installing a puppet regime. Instead he has found himself sucked into a hugely demanding war of attrition.

The death of Rezantsev comes after it was revealed Russian Colonel Alexei Sharov was killed during Moscow’s barbaric invasion earlier this week. 

The commander of the 810th Guards Separate Order of Zhukov Brigade in the Russian Marines, Sharov was reportedly killed in Mariupol, a city in which over 100,000 people have been trapped amid a siege by the invading Russians. 

Russia has not officially updated its casualty figures since stating on March 2 that 498 servicemen had been killed and 1,597 wounded. Since then its offensive has run into further heavy resistance from Ukraine’s army and volunteer defence forces.

Sharov’s death comes after the death of Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko, Commander of the 45th Engineering Regiment.    

Col Sergei Sukharev, of the 331st Guards Parachute Assault Regiment from Kostroma, was killed on March 18.

Russia’s war casualties 

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov: Commander of the 29th Combined Army Army

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov: First deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army who took part in operations in Syria and Crimea

Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky: Deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District killed during a special operation by a sniper

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov of the 29th Combined Arms Army was killed last week in another blow to the Kremlin

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov of the 29th Combined Arms Army was killed last week in another blow to the Kremlin

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov of the 29th Combined Arms Army was killed last week in another blow to the Kremlin

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov was killed last week and was the first deputy commander of Russia's 41st army

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov was killed last week and was the first deputy commander of Russia's 41st army

Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was killed in Ukraine

Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was killed in Ukraine

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov (left) was killed last week and was  the first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army. Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky (Right), 47, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District, was also killed in Ukraine 

Colonel Andrei Zakharov: Killed in a Ukrainian ambush near Kyiv

Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov: Leader of marine brigade killed after Ukrainian forces recaptured Chernihiv

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov: Leader of air assault troops killed in Chernihiv

Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky: Leader of air assault troops killed in the south of Ukraine

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov

Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov

Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov (left) and Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov (right) died in a battle in Chuhuiv and 

Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky, who led air assault troops died in the south of Ukraine

Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky, who led air assault troops died in the south of Ukraine

It is not clear exactly when Glushchak (pictured) died, though it is thought to be in early stages of the fighting

It is not clear exactly when Glushchak (pictured) died, though it is thought to be in early stages of the fighting

Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky (left), who led air assault troops died in the south of Ukraine and Captain Alexey Glushchak (right), of the GRU intelligence service, who died fighting near Mariupol

Colonel Andrei Zakharov (pictured right with Vladimir Putin) was killed in an ambush near Kyiv in the opening days of the war

Colonel Andrei Zakharov (pictured right with Vladimir Putin) was killed in an ambush near Kyiv in the opening days of the war

Colonel Andrei Zakharov (right, with Vladimir Putin) was killed in an ambush near Kyiv in the opening days of the war, while

General Magomed Tushaev: Chechen special forces leader killed in an ambush near Hostomel

Vladimir Zhonga: Leader of neo-Nazi Sparta Battalion backed by the Kremlin

Georgy Dudorov: Deputy commander of the reconnaissance company for the 137th regiment of the 106th Tula Guards Airborne Division

Aleksey Aleshko: Paratroop intelligence officer that was a graduate of the prestigious Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne School

Vladimir Zhoga, pictured, was killed in Volnovakha, Ukraine, following the eleventh day of Russia's invasion as Putin's troops fail to make big wins

Vladimir Zhoga, pictured, was killed in Volnovakha, Ukraine, following the eleventh day of Russia's invasion as Putin's troops fail to make big wins

Chechen general Magomed Tushaev was one of 56 highly-feared elite soldiers blown up by Ukraine after they joined the Russian invasion with their sights set on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Chechen general Magomed Tushaev was one of 56 highly-feared elite soldiers blown up by Ukraine after they joined the Russian invasion with their sights set on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Vladimir Zhoga (left), the leader of a military group from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, was killed in Volnovakha while Chechen general Magomed Tushaev (right) was reported killed in an ambush on an armoured column 

Georgy Dudorov

Georgy Dudorov

Aleksey Aleshko

Aleksey Aleshko

Georgy Dudorov (left), deputy commander of an airborne reconnaissance division, and Aleksey Aleshko (right), a paratroop intelligence officer, have also been killed

 

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Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities said Friday that about 300 people died when a Russian airstrike last week blew up a theatre in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians were sheltering – a catastrophic loss of civilian life that, if confirmed, is likely to further crank up pressure on Western nations to step up military aid.

In a vain attempt to protect those inside from missile and airstrikes that Russia has rained down on cities, an enormous inscription reading ‘CHILDREN’ in Russian had been posted outside the grand, columned theater to make it visible from the air.

For days, the government in the besieged ruins of Mariupol was unable to give a casualty count for the March 16 attack. The post on its Telegram channel Friday cited eyewitnesses, but it was not immediately clear whether emergency workers had finished excavating the theater ruins or how witnesses arrived at the horrific figure of lives lost.

Still, the emerging picture of gruesome casualties could refocus attention on the refusal thus far of countries from the NATO alliance to supply warplanes or fly patrols to protect Ukraine’s airspace, despite repeated pleas from the country’s embattled president.

The scale of devastation in Mariupol, where bodies have laid unburied amid bomb craters and buildings have been hollowed out by relentless attacks, have made information difficult to obtain. 

But soon after the attack, the Ukrainian Parliament’s human rights commissioner said more than 1,300 people had taken cover in the theater, many of them because their homes were destroyed in Russia’s siege. The building had a basement bomb shelter, and some survivors did emerge from the rubble after the attack.

The new reported death toll came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden and allied leaders promised that more military aid for Ukraine was coming. 

But they stopped short of providing the heavy weaponry that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said is urgently needed. NATO nations fear that providing planes, tanks and the no-fly zone in Ukraine’s airspace could increase the risk of them being drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

The U.S. and the European Union on Friday did announce a move to further squeeze Russia economically: a partnership to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy and slowly dry up the billions of dollars the Kremlin gets from sales of fossil fuels.

Even without a direct conflict between Russian and NATO forces, Europe’s most serious security crisis since World War II pushed relations toward breaking point. 

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Saturday, March 19, 2022 shows the aftermath of the airstrike on the Mariupol Drama theater, Ukraine, and the area around it

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Saturday, March 19, 2022 shows the aftermath of the airstrike on the Mariupol Drama theater, Ukraine, and the area around it

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Saturday, March 19, 2022 shows the aftermath of the airstrike on the Mariupol Drama theater, Ukraine, and the area around it

The Kremlin is bristling at the tightening noose of sanctions around Russia’s economy, currency and business leaders accused of being supportive of President Vladimir Putin. His foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, on Friday characterized the Western pressure as ‘a real hybrid war, total war.’

‘And the goals are not hidden,’ he continued, ‘they are declared publicly – to destroy, break, annihilate, strangle the Russian economy, and Russia on the whole.’

In Ukrainian towns and cities that day-by-day increasingly resemble the ruins that Russian forces left behind in previous campaigns in Syria and Chechnya, the misery for civilians grows ever more acute.

Those who can are trying to flee, emptying out their cities. In relentlessly shelled Kharkiv, mostly elderly women came to collect food and other urgent supplies. In the capital of Kyiv, ashes of the dead are piling up at the main crematorium because so many relatives have left, leaving urns unclaimed.

Meanwhile, the vulnerable – the elderly, children and others unable to join millions heading westward – face food shortages in a country once known as the breadbasket for the world.

Russian troops are seen atop of an armoured vehicle in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday

Russian troops are seen atop of an armoured vehicle in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday

Russian troops are seen atop of an armoured vehicle in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol on Thursday

Fidgeting with anticipation, a young girl in Kharkiv watched intently this week as a volunteer’s knife cut through a giant slab of cheese, carving out thick slices – one for each hungry person waiting stoically in line.

Hanna Spitsyna took charge of divvying up the delivery of food aid from the Ukrainian Red Cross, handing it out to her neighbors. Each got a lump of the cheese that was cut under the child’s watchful gaze, dropped chunk by chunk into plastic bags that people in line held open like hungry mouths.

‘They brought us aid, brought us aid for the elderly women that stayed here,’ Spitsyna said. ‘All these people need diapers, swaddle blankets and food.’

Unable to sweep with lightning-quick speed into Kyiv, the apparent aim on February 24 when the Kremlin launched the war, Russian forces are instead raining down shells and missiles on cities from afar. 

Kyiv, like other cities, has seen its population dramatically reduced in the vast refugee crisis that has seen more than 10 million displaced, including at least 3.5 million who have fled the country entirely.

Russia’s military claimed Friday that it destroyed a massive Ukrainian fuel base used to supply the Kyiv region’s defenses, with ships firing a salvo of cruise missiles, according to the Interfax news agency. Videos on social media showed an enormous fireball explosion near the capital.

The outskirts of Kharkiv were shrouded by foggy smoke Friday, with shelling constant since early in the morning. In a city hospital, several wounded soldiers arrived, with bullet and shrapnel wounds, a day after doctors treated a dozen civilians. Even as doctors stabilized the direst case, the sound of shelling could be heard in the surgery ward.

At an emergency NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, Zelenskyy pleaded with the Western allies via video for planes, tanks, rockets, air defense systems and other weapons, saying his country is ‘defending our common values.’

The invasion has sharpened an energy and moral dilemma for European nations that heat homes and power industries with Russian fossil fuels. Alarmed that the billions they pay can be channeled by the Kremlin toward its war effort, they’re speeding up hunts for alternatives.

Germany said Friday that it has forged contracts with new suppliers that will significantly reduce its reliance on Russian coal, gas and oil in coming weeks. Biden said the new U.S.-EU gas-supply partnership will help undercut Putin’s use of energy sales to ‘coerce and manipulate his neighbors’ and ‘drive his war machine.’ Under the plan, the U.S. and other nations will increase liquified natural gas exports to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters this year.

While millions of Ukrainians have fled west, Ukraine accused Moscow of forcibly removing hundreds of thousands of civilians from shattered cities to Russia to pressure Kyiv to give up. Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken against their will into Russia, where some may be used as ‘hostages’ to pressure Kyiv to surrender.

The Kremlin gave nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated, but said they were from predominantly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine and wanted to go to Russia. 

Pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting for control for nearly eight years in those regions, where many people have supported close ties to Russia. 

Source: DailyMail

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