Latest reports from Ukraine suggest that yet another high-ranking Russian army officer has been killed as Vladimir Putin’s invasion reaches its 50th day.
Lieutenant Colonel Denis Mezhuev, commander of the 1st Guards Motor Rifle Sevastopol Red Banner regiment, is the 40th Russian commander to die in Ukraine, in a war that has taken a particularly high toll on the Russian officer class.
One in five of Russia’s casualties have been officers – a far higher ratio than would be expected in a modern military operation.
While Mezhuev’s death has not yet been officially acknowledged by the Kremlin, Russian poet Andrey Kovalev, a prominent Putin supporter, has called for Mezhuev to be awarded a posthumous medal for his sacrifice.
Confirmed Russian casualty figures are hard to come by but Ukraine claims to have killed around 20,000 Russian fighters in the field.
No official figures have been released by Russia for several days.
Russian troops are currently regrouping in eastern Ukraine after they having been driven out of Kyiv, and Moscow is reportedly preparing a massive wave of reinforcements to overwhelm Ukrainian defences.
One NATO official told reporters on Monday: “I would imagine that, at outside estimates, what you’re looking at is a force which is probably the Russians looking to double or even treble the amount of force that they bring into that Donbas area.
“But I would note that that is going to take some considerable time to bring them up to that sort of number."
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The Russian forces have been described by one Western official as “poorly-led, ill-disciplined and frustrated,” after sustaining extremely high casualties. This collapse of moral is thought to be behind reports of Russian war crimes.
The source told the Mirror: “The Russian way of urban warfare was never pretty and we are seeing that in degrading and revolting and barbaric detail at the moment.
“These indiscriminate attacks – the targeting of civilians, alleged war crimes – have shocked and horrified us all.”
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