Russia loses 40th senior army officer as colonel killed in Ukraine

Russia ‘loses its 40th high-ranking officer’ as another lieutenant colonel is killed – taking the death toll in Putin’s army to seven generals and 33 colonels

  • Lieutenant Colonel Denis Mezhuev became the latest Russian senior officer slain
  • The 1st Guards Motor Rifle regiment he commanded had moved east from Kyiv
  • Mezhuev is thought to have died in battle. Kremlin has not confirmed his death
  • He becomes the 33rd Russian colonel to die in Ukraine – plus seven generals
  • Total Russian losses are thought to be around 20,000 – but Moscow understates 

Russia has reportedly lost its fortieth high-ranking military officer since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Lieutenant Colonel Denis Mezhuev was killed on the frontline, local reports said.

Mezhuev commanded the Sevastopol Red Banner regiment under the 1st guards motor rifle division, which moved from Kyiv to the battle-scarred east in recent days.

Lt Col Mezhuev, who was reportedly a father, died in battle in the east of Ukraine, reports say

A social media post by a junior Russian politician read: ‘Denis Mezhuev died in battle. His son can be proud of his dad.’

Pro-Putin poet Andrey Kovalev called on the Kremlin to award Lt Col Mezhuev the nation’s top honour posthumously.

Mezhuev led the Sevastopol Red Banner regiment of the 1st guards motor rifle division

He said: ‘For his deed he is worthy of the title of Hero of Russia.’

Ukraine says Russia has now lost a total of seven generals and 33 colonels 

The scale of the high ranking death toll defies Vladimir Putin’s claim that his “special military operation” is going according to plan.

The overall Russian losses since the war began on 24 February are believed to be in the region of 20,000 but Moscow has failed to give accurate figures.

A day earlier, surrendering Ukrainian forces evidently showed Russian servicemen the location in blitzed Mariupol of the corpse of one of seven generals slain in the war.

The Russians retrieved the body of Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 47, commander of the army’s 150th motorised rifle division, according to sources.

Yesterday the body of Major-General Oleg Mityaev, commander of the army’s feared 150th motorised rifle division, was found in Mariupol.

The 47-year-old’s corpse laid there since he was killed in an ambush on March 16.

Other recent high-ranking officers killed include Lt Gen Yakov Rezantsev, commander of Russia’s 49th combined army, who was killed in a strike near the southern city of Kherson on March 25.

The pro-Kremlin Wargonzo Telegram channel reported that Ukrainian marines from the 36th brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces cooperated in an operation ‘to evacuate the body of our high-ranking officer from the Illich factory in Mariupol’ without naming the general but giving his rank.

Major General Andrey Kolesnikov, commander in the east, was killed in Mariupol on March 11

They wrote: ‘After yesterday’s operation to eliminate a neo-Nazi breakthrough from the Illich plant, the surrendered Ukrainian marines not only shared information about where the general’s body was, but also volunteered to participate in the DNR People’s Militia’s operation to evacuate it.

‘Namely, they acted as guides and showed a safe route,’ said the outlet.

‘For a long time the neo-Nazis refused to hand over his body or report his whereabouts. Instead, Azov fighters posted a video of mocking the corpse.’

Semyon Pegov, who runs the channel, said the slain general ‘died in a truly heroic way.

Russia’s fallen generals 

General Magomed Tushaev: Chechen special forces leader who had led ‘anti-gay purges’ killed in an ambush near Hostomel on February 26 

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 on March 4General Magomed Tushaev

General Magomed Tushaev (right) was blown up in the early stages of the war by Ukraine after they joined the Russian invasion

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov: First deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army who took part in operations in Syria and Crimea, killed in fighting around Kharkiv on March 8

Major General Andrei Kolesnikov: Commander of the 29th Combined Army Army killed on March 11

Major General Vitaly Gerasimov (left) was first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army, taking part in operations in Syria and Crimea. He was killed in fighting around Kharkiv on March 8

Major-General Oleg Mityaev, died fighting near the city of Mariupol on 16 March

Lt-Gen Andrey Mordvichev, killed in the Kherson region on March 19 

Lt Gen Yakov Rezantsev, commander of Russia’s 49th combined army, was killed in a strike near the southern city of Kherson on March 25 

Lt Gen Yakov Rezantsev , commander of Russia’s 49th combined army. He was killed in a strike near the southern city of Kherson on March 25

‘He was ambushed directly during a combat mission to liberate Mariupol.’  

The Ukrainian cooperation came after Russia’s defence ministry announced the surrender yesterday of a brigade of Ukrainian marines in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

‘In the town of Mariupol, near the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works, as a result of successful offensives by Russian armed forces and Donetsk People’s Republic militia units, 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers of the 36th Marine Brigade voluntarily laid down arms and surrendered,’ the ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian president’s office, the Ukrainian general staff or the defence ministry.

The alleged corpse of Major-General Oleg Mityaev, whose body stayed in Mariupol for a month

Russia said 151 wounded Ukrainian soldiers were treated on the spot and taken to Mariupol’s city hospital.  

The 36th marine brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces wrote on Facebook Monday that anyone whose limbs have not been torn off will be ordered to fight – and battles are being fought by cooks, drivers and musicians.

They wrote: ‘Today will probably be the last battle, as the ammunition is running out.

‘It’s death for some of us, and captivity for the rest,’ it added, saying it had been ‘pushed back’ and ‘surrounded’ by the Russian army.

It said it had been defending the port for 47 days and ‘did everything possible and impossible’ to retain control of the city.

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