The third week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been marked bloody with the bombing of civilian areas, stalled Russian advances, and psychological battles of propaganda from both sides. Once touted as one of the strongest militaries in the world, Russia has suffered losses of some 14,000 troops as of March 17 (reported by Ukrainian media), revealing its weaknesses as a combined arms fight force when met by a determined of Ukrainian resistance.
The 2nd most powerful military in the world has been all but stalemated by Ukraine, the 22nd most powerful military. Smart tactical combat, relentless defense, and exploiting Russian weaknesses have been the theme of the week, which is seen with the latest Russian general being killed in action.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Tuesday that another top Russian general had been killed during the fighting. While he didn’t name the general, his Interior Ministry Adviser Anton Gerashchenko later identified the slain Russian general to be Maj. Gen. Oleg Mityaev, a 46-year-old commander of Russia’s 150th Motorized Rifle Division, based in Rostov.
The Russian Maj. General killed yesterday in Mariupol was identified as Oleg Mityaev, the commander of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, a former deputy commander of the Russian contingent in #Syria amongst others. https://t.co/qQm6t6D0ix
— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) March 16, 2022
According to a report by the Associated Press, Mityaev died while storming the city of Mariupol as per Gerashchenko’s announcement on Telegram. On the other hand, Russia did not confirm the death, possibly due to the perceived impact of the announcement on Russian troops’ collective morale. The troops’ morale has been at an all-time low due to low food supplies and a lack of motivation to fight Ukrainians. It is believed that the far-right Azov regiment killed the general.
It can be remembered that the port city of Mariupol had been the subject of Russian ground attacks and missile strikes. The latest one was the strike on the Mariupol Drama Theater. The theater had been used to shelter hundreds of civilians as the city had been suffering from continuous shelling. One thousand people were believed to be inside the building when it was attacked.
The civilians also made an attempt to inform Russian bomb pilots that children were inside the building as satellite images from Maxar saw the word “children” written in large white letters in front and at the back of the theater. It is unknown whether these could be seen from the pilot’s point of view.
Mariupol was also the subject of a maternity hospital bombing and an alleged hospital hostage-taking. Earlier this week, Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov reported that the Mariupol Regional Intensive Care Hospital had forcibly been taken by the Russians, with staff, patients, and other civilians allegedly being held captive.
Mityaev is the fourth Russian general to be killed in three weeks of fighting in what is seen to be a disastrous invasion campaign. According to an earlier analysis by SOFREP Editor-in-chief Sean Spoonts, high ranking general officers only visit the frontlines of a war zone to hand out medals to the troops or to kick people’s butts when things are going sideways in an offensive to get it back on track-this would indicate that the Russian forces had been doing so badly that a top-ranking general needed to be in the frontlines.
SOFREP also reported previously that Russian troops were also surrendering to the Ukrainians without a fight as they were subjected to the harsh coldness of Ukraine without food or fuel in their vehicles to keep them warm. Reports of Russian soldiers looting Ukrainian shops had also surfaced online due no doubt in part to being given rations that were 6-7 past their expiration date.
Thus, if Mityaev were on the frontlines in Mariupol, this would suggest that the Russian forces would have been doing very poorly in securing the strategic port city. This also parallels the situation of the first Russian general killed in Ukraine, Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky.
Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky was the deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army and the former commander of the 7th Air Assault Division of Russia’s airborne forces. He was killed by a Ukrainian sniper while visiting the frontlines to revitalize the momentum of their invading forces on February 28th. His death was publicly reported in the Russian media, with the Russian President himself acknowledging the death through a speech.
It seems that the Russian troops did not secure the area and did not know how to conduct a security sweep to ensure the protection of the general. It can also be the case that the Ukrainians have tapped into the Russian’s UHF/VHF radio communications and were tipped off that the general was going to be there. Furthermore, radio jammers by the Ukrainians have also left the Russian troops to use local sim cards, which are easily traceable — a sign that Russia’s military communications systems are not fairing well against the Ukrainians’ jammers.
A few days after Sukhovetsky’s death, regimental commander of the 247th Guards Airborne Assault Regiment Guard Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky was also killed during a navy operation. His photo was posted on Instagram by the Governor of the Pskov region, Mikhail Vedernikov. In the same Instagram post above, Vedernikov also confirmed the death of Guard Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Agarkov. Agarkov served in the 56th Air Assault Brigade as the chief of staff and commanded an unknown motorized rifle regiment. He died alongside Zizevsky.
The bloodbath did not stop there as a second Russian general, Major General Vitaly Gerasimov was killed on March 7 in Kharkiv. They had been using local sim cards to communicate, and their lines were intercepted by the Ukrainians, leaving him exposed to an assassination.
The third Russian general to be killed was Maj. Gen Andrey Kolesnikov. Kolesnikov was the commander of the 29th Combined Arms Army. The circumstances of his death are unknown. However, his death was confirmed on March 11 and was also due to him moving toward the front of his army to regain momentum in the invasion. His death was confirmed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces through a tweet below.
Російські окупанти продовжують втрачати у війні проти України своїх офіцерів. ЗСУ вдалося ліквідувати генерал-майора Андрія Колеснікова, командувача Східного військового округу. pic.twitter.com/CEBDneqslz
— 🇺🇦Armed Forces (@ArmedForcesUkr) March 11, 2022
Other Russian commanders also met their maker during the three-week-old war. Commander of the 61st Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Safronov was claimed to be killed during the battle of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
In the same statement released by the Defense Ministry, Deputy Commander of the 11th Separate Airborne Assault Lieutenant Colonel Denis Glebov was also killed in the same battle. Russia awarded him with the Order of Courage after his death.
Russian Colonel Andrei Zakharov was also killed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces during an ambush on a Russian armored column in Kyiv on March 10. This was the video that had gone viral in recent weeks as the Russian forces were seen to be panicking amid the attack as they were sitting ducks against the Ukrainian drone attack in Brovary, Ukraine.
In a report by The Guardian, it was heard that a Russian officer was reporting back to their HQ that they were being ambushed. “Sixth regiment lost,” he reported. “I cannot report about the 6th regiment. I’m collecting data. Lots of losses. They waited for us. Head of the convoy got into the ambush. Regiment commander killed in action,” he said. The lost commander was supposedly Zakharov. However, we could not verify this independently.
Lastly, Chechen sub-warlord and General, Magomed Tushaev, head of the 141st motorized regiment of the Chechen National Guard, was killed during a Ukrainian attack on a 56 vehicle convoy near Hostomel. Chechen forces were reportedly recruited with the task of assassinating President Zelensky, his family, and other members of the Ukrainian government.
As for how Russia keeps losing all these generals we have a couple of theories that involve a lack of operational and communications security. The Russian army has encrypted and secure communications devices, but apparently, they require a 4G network to function properly. Yet Russia has been seen blowing up cell phone towers which is where that 4G network would be coming from to encrypt their comms. We have also heard the radio transmissions of Russian units broadcasting in the clear on UHF/VHF frequencies that radio detection finding equipment can triangulate with great accuracy in terms of the source location. This would explain to some extent the very accurate rocket and artillery strikes we’ve seen on Russian supply convoys. The Ukrainians would be able to track it by its radio transmissions for miles and miles. Russian troops are also using their cell phones to communicate which can also be traced to their location very easily. If the Ukrainians knew the phone numbers of these general officers, they would know exactly what phone they were looking for and where it was too. From there it would not be too hard to direct a drone, rocket or even a sniper team to the location to take out the target.
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