The Russian forces have lost yet again three more top Russian colonels. According to various Ukrainian officers and military analysts, Colonel Ruslan Shirin, the Chief of Staff for the Baltic Fleet’s 336th Naval Infantry, had been killed in action. Lieutenant-Colonel Vadim Gerasimov had also died in action in unknown circumstances. An artillery commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Nigmatullin, was also confirmed to be dead.
It is no surprise that there has been an increased number of dead Russian generals and high-ranking military officers in the past week. As Russia struggles to take the entirety of Severdonetsk, where the majority of the fighting had been taking place in the east, more and more officers are sent out to the frontlines to try and command their forces themselves.
Ukrainian Armed Forces Officer Anatoliy Stefan announced the death of Shirin through his social media post, citing Russian Telegram sources.
“Chief of Staff of the 336th Marine Brigade of the Baltic Fleet Colonel Ruslan Shirin is officially denazified and demilitarized. Glory to the National Death to the Vorogs Telegram – https:// t.me/a_shtirlitz 🇺🇦🔥,” he said. Military analyst Rob Lee would later retweet his tweet, citing a source from VKontakte. The post describes the colonel to have been awarded the Order of Courage for his actions in the “special military operation.”
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 7, 2022
On the other hand, the other colonel that had been killed in Ukraine was the 36-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Gerasimov. According to military analysts, he was a battalion commander who served in Leningrad. It is unknown what brigade he was exactly from, but sources state he was with the 138th Motorized Rifle Brigade or the 25th Motorized Rifle Brigade.
Lieutenant Colonel Vadim Gerasimov was a battalion commander who served in Leningrad, likely with either the 138th or 25th Motorized Rifle Brigades. He died in Ukraine on March 8.https://t.co/xUScP2ysbbhttps://t.co/IX7V0teuFWhttps://t.co/hiX3HIfi1Nhttps://t.co/DqV3fnekSZ pic.twitter.com/zczaEkdbxy
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) June 8, 2022
He was posthumously awarded the “Hero of Russia” honors, Russia’s highest honor it could bestow. Reports say that the award was given on Putin’s orders. His widow is also going to receive Gerasimov’s Order of Courage. We are unsure whether Vadim Gerasimov is related to a general that had been killed months prior. SOFREP reported last March that Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, the first deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army, had died in Ukraine as he was killed by Ukrainian forces due to the Russians using unencrypted radios and local sim cards to communicate. Gerasimov’s location was determined through these interceptions.
Vitaly Gerasimov is rumored to be the nephew or son of the Chief of Staff of the Russian Army, General Valery Gerasimov, who was previously rumored to be wounded in one of the Ukrainian artillery strikes. However, this cannot be confirmed independently. While we also cannot independently verify whether they are related or not, they do bear striking facial similarities. More so, their names all start with the letter “V,” and all of them are servicemen, which may indicate that they are following a tradition of serving their country or that the most senior family member is using their power to promote their relatives within the Russian military ranks as Russian elites are known to do.
The circumstances of the deaths of Vadim Gerasimov and Ruslan Shirin cannot be identified. No information regarding how they died was released or leaked. However, Gerasimov’s funeral was reportedly held in Leningrad on June 9th, Thursday.
Another Lieutenant Colonel, Vladimir Nigmatullin, who was an artillery commander was reported to be dead. He was from Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city. His death was confirmed as his sister-in-law posted about how she missed the colonel and that his family was very proud of him.
The sister-in-law, Marina Konyukhova, said that “Eternal memory, darling, dear, much-loved man, you passed away,” and that they could not believe the colonel was gone.
“We still cannot believe you are gone. You are a father of three children and an amazing husband to my sister. I am always proud of you, and I will always be proud,” she added.
“You set an example to the Motherland, so that everyone does like you did. You were ordered with the Order of Bravery, posthumously,” she revealed.
These series of deaths mark the deaths of the 50th, 51st, and 52nd Russian Colonels to be killed in Ukraine since the invasion was launched by Putin last February 24th. As we have reported throughout this war, high-value, high-ranking military officers usually stay in the back, planning and strategizing what to do next in the war, as their brains are too valuable to be blown off on the frontlines. This means that high-ranking officers are only set to the frontlines themselves whenever there is something massively wrong. The deaths of these Russian military officers indicate that there is somewhat of frustration coming in from the Kremlin and its leadership, thinking that if they sent in their most senior leaders to lead the fight, they might be able to gain some ground and find success.
Can Russia keep up with these losses? Russia has already ramped up its recruitment efforts as it continues to lose thousands in Ukraine. The British Ministry of Defense has also stated that:
“Brigade and battalion commanders likely deploy forwards into harm’s way because they are held to an uncompromising level of responsibility for their units’ performance. Similarly, junior officers have had to lead the lowest level tactical actions, as the army lacks the cadre of highly trained and empowered non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who fulfill that role in Western forces.”