An eighth Russian colonel has been killed in Ukraine in another devastating blow to Vladimir Putin’s invasion. In a statement, Kyiv said it had ‘eliminated’ Colonel Denis Kurilo, commander of the 200th separate motorised rifle brigade, in fighting near Kharkiv.
The brigade had suffered massive losses in the fierce battle, the Ukrainian army’s press office said. Two battalion groups in the 200th brigade were destroyed, with a staggering loss of 1,500 servicemen, Ukraine has claimed. The colonel is the latest in a long list of slain Russian military leaders, which experts say betray the Kremlin’s tactics in the brutal invasion.
Kurilo follows seven colonels and seven generals who have been killed by defiant Ukrainian forces in the month-long war.
Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko, chief of the Western Military District engineer troops, was killed in an ambush that left a total of 18 Russians dead by a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River. Colonel Alexei Sharov, commander of the 810th Guards Separate Order of Zhukov Brigade in the Russian Marines, was killed in Mariupol last week. Colonel Sergei Sukharev, of the 331st Guards Parachute Assault Regiment from Kostroma, was ‘liquidated’ according to Ukraine in fighting earlier this month.
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‘Commander of the Kostroma Airborne Regiment, Colonel Sergei Sukharev… got lost in the “[military] exercises”, but returned home the right way,’ said the Ukrainian statement. His deputy Major Sergei Krylov was killed alongside him, said the report.
Colonel Andrei Zakharov was killed in an ambush near Kyiv in the opening days of the war, while Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky who led air assault troops died in the south of Ukraine. Russian brigade commander Colonel Yuri Medvedev was even run down with a tank by his own mutinous troops.
A Western official claimed the commander had been killed by his own troops, ‘as a consequence of the scale of losses that had been taken by his brigade’. ‘We believe he was killed by his own troops deliberately,’ the official said, noting he was ‘run over’.
He added it was a further sign of ‘morale challenges that Russian forces are having’. ‘They really have found themselves in a hornet’s nest and they’re suffering really badly,’ the official said. Colonel Sergei Porokhyna is another high-profile casualty among Putin’s forces.
Last week, Russian Army Commander General Vlaislav Yershov, of the 6th Combined Arms Army, was sacked by Putin due to the heavy losses and strategic failures. The latest to die, Lieutenant General Yakov Rezanstev, was a commander of Russia’s 49th Combined Arms Army in its southern military district, the official disclosed.