This makes six generals among 16 officers with the rank of captain or higher who’ve met their end in Ukraine in the past month if Ukrainian reports are to be believed. And why shouldn’t we believe them? If they’re lying, it’d be easy enough for Russia to expose those lies and undercut Ukraine’s credibility by posting new video of the generals who’ve allegedly been killed.
The likely truth is that Putin is losing top officers nowadays faster than Spinal Tap lost drummers.
The latest one is special, though, having made a cameo in this recent Daily Beast report about an aneded call in which Russian soldiers intercepted about a “sh*tshow” outside Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
Two Russian soldiers have been caught venting about Putin’s “bullsh*t” war against Ukraine in an intercepted phone call as devastating losses reportedly led one soldier to drive over his colonel with a tank…
On the fourth day of their deployment, he said, the general commanding the unit, General-Lieutenant Yakov Rezantsev, told them it’d be over quickly.
“Do you know what he told us? ‘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.”
If the reports from Kiev this morning are true then Rezantsev’s words were prophetic. For him, the war was over quickly:
Russian two-stars-general Yakov Rezantsev reportedly eliminated by Ukrainian strike on infamous Chirobayevka airfield at Kherson, HQ of Russian 49th army. Resantsev was a commander of the 49th army. If true: this is the 6th RU general and the 2nd two-stars RU general KIA in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/WTFgISUEZP
— Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) March 25, 2022
It’s unclear when it happened. Ukraine has attacked Kherson from afar several times over the past few weeks, including last night. Maybe they got lucky with Rezantsev. Or maybe they had information about his location — and a strong motive to take him out:
 UPDATE – As a result of Ukrainian strike on the command post of the 49th Russian Army on the south of #Ukraine, at least one Rus. General was killed – presidential aid A. Aristovych. This is most likely the notorious murderer of civilians in #Mariupol lt. Gen. Yakov Rezantsev. pic.twitter.com/l8veCnV3FI
— Victor Kovalenko (@MrKovalenko) March 25, 2022
Any Russians responsible for the bestial treatment of Mariupol will be top targets for Ukrainian reprisals, needless to say.
David Petraeus recently explained how Ukraine has been so successful at targeting Russian officers, although what he describes here doesn’t seem to be how Rezantsev met his end:
Former US army general and CIA director David Petraeus said Ukraine also has “good snipers” which are able to target key individuals when a Russian chain of command breaks down.
He said: “The communications have been jammed. The column gets stopped, and an impatient general goes forward to see what’s going on.
“There’s no initiative, no non-commissioned officer corps, no sense of initiative at junior levels. They wait to be told what to do, and the Ukrainians have very, very good snipers.”
Military tacticians have made that point repeatedly when dissecting Russia’s logistical nightmare. Russia’s army has officers and conscripts but no dependable middle tier of NCOs to make sure vehicles are fueled and troops are fed. When a platoon of inexperienced Russian troops runs into trouble, a higher-ranking officer may have to move to the front to sort it out. Result: Dead captains, colonels, and even generals.
Speaking of dead Russian generals, there’s an update today on the curious case of Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister and general of the army who hadn’t been seen in public for nearly two weeks until he turned up yesterday on Putin’s monitor during a virtual cabinet meeting. But was the footage of Shoigu on the monitor live or recycled from a previous cabinet meeting? Hmmmm:
On the supposed reappearance of Russia’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, @MoscowTimes points out that today’s teeny tiny footage seems to match what we saw on March 11, his last sighting. Background, necktie, and clothes. 🤷♂️ https://t.co/ZMftiUvLwK pic.twitter.com/1zlQNlZ1BP
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) March 24, 2022
Putin biographer Mark Galeotti believes it’s not just the debacle in Ukraine that’s landed Shoigu in hot water, it’s the fact that his daughter recently posted photographs of her child wearing Ukrainian blue and yellow. A paranoiac like Putin might have heard of that and wondered if Shoigu deliberately sabotaged the war due to secret Ukrainian sympathies. A reckoning is coming, writes Galeotti:
Never since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been such fervid rumour and counter-rumour in the Kremlin. A circular firing squad is forming, with everyone pointing their guns at each other.
And when conscripts start returning from the Ukraine front, bringing with them horror stories of the war, the political temperature will only rise.
Right now, most ordinary people in Russia believe the state TV version, that a successful military operation is underway to oust a neo-Nazi cabal in Kyiv and prevent ethnic cleansing or even nuclear genocide against Russians in Ukraine.
When that lie is exposed, the people might start to turn against the man at the top. How his cronies respond to that will determine Putin’s fate.
The Kremlin surely knows that western media has begun to pay attention to Shoigu’s disappearance. If he’s fine, they could produce him at any moment. Why haven’t they?
Update: Ukraine’s army isn’t the only one killing Russian officers, apparently:
BREAKING: A Russian brigade commander has been deliberately killed by his own troops after his unit suffered many losses in Ukraine, a western official said.
Colonel Medvechek, commander of 37 Motor Rifle Brigade, was run over by his soldiers, the official said
— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) March 25, 2022