Vladimir Putin has lost yet another high-ranking military officer amid bitter fighting in Ukraine as his forces suffer a series of humiliating setbacks.
Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kislyakov, 40, was buried today with full military honours in his hometown in Moscow region.
Kislyakov, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, is the 57th colonel to have been killed since Putin ordered his troops over the border on February 24.
No details have been given about where in Ukraine he was killed – but his death highlights the appalling losses of high-ranking officers suffered by Russia.
The war, which has now raged for more than four months, has also seen the slaying of at least 11 Russian generals – though the true death toll may be higher given the tendency of Russian authorities to conceal its death tolls.
It comes as fresh footage from the Ukrainian military showed how its soldiers deployed an M777 howitzer long-range artillery weapon to obliterate a Russian base.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported Russia has lost about 35,600 personnel, 1,573 tanks, 3,726 armoured combat vehicles, 790 artillery units, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 104 air defence systems, 217 warplanes, 185 helicopters, 641 drones, 143 cruise missiles, 14 warships, and 2,602 motor vehicles and fuel tankers since the invasion began.
Pavel Kislyakov, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, is the 57th colonel to have been killed since Putin ordered his troops over the border on February 24
Kislyakov, 40, was buried today with full military honours in his hometown in Moscow region
Stonefaced Russian servicemen stand to attention at the military funeral of Colonel Kislyakov who was buried today after being killed in action on the frontlines in Ukraine
This is the moment shells fired by an M777 howitzer slammed into a Russian base and warehouse of military vehicles
The Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communications (StratCom) said in a statement yesterday: ‘Three howitzers (M777) on the occupiers’ armoured vehicles, headquarters and warehouse’
The Ukrainian military said they used British-made M777 howitzers to destroy the Russian base – though this information could not be independently verified
Impressive footage obtained yesterday showed the moment a volley of shells fired by Ukrainian-operated howitzers slammed into a Russian base which reportedly housed several military vehicles.
The Ukrainian military said they used British-made M777 howitzers to destroy the Russian base – though this information could not be independently verified.
The Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communications (StratCom) said in a statement yesterday: ‘Three howitzers (M777) on the occupiers’ armoured vehicles, headquarters and warehouse.’
Manufactured by the Global Combat Systems division of BAE Systems, the M777 is a highly-capable lightweight artillery gun which can fire shells at an effective range of up to 25 miles and could play a pivotal role in Ukraine’s efforts to strike Russian targets at long-range.
Kislyakov, who was killed in a separate attack, served as head of the operational department of the headquarters of the 11th separate airborne assault brigade in Buryatia.
District official Denis Semenov said at the funeral: ‘He died in the line of military duty during the special operation in Ukraine.’
The father of two was described as ‘a true hero and defender of the Motherland’.
His death pushes the number of high-ranking Russian military officials killed in action close to 60, and comes just three days after the announcement that Col. Andrey Vasilyev, also a paratrooper commander, had been killed.
Vasilyev was struck in one of Ukraine’s first uses of a 43-mile-range HIMARS missile sent to Ukraine by U.S. President Joe Biden.
The colonel had previously been awarded the Russian Order of Courage and led the 137th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division.
Vasilyev’s death occurred the same night that footage first emerged of Ukrainian forces opening fire with HIMARS, with video also taken at night.
It is not clear whether the strike captured on film and the strike that killed Vasilyev were one and the same, but the timing of his death means he is almost certainly one of the first Russian officers to be killed by the weapon.
Colonel Andrey Vasilyev, 49, was killed in a HIMARS strike in Ukraine. The colonel had previously been awarded the Russian Order of Courage and led the 137th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division
Video shows blown-out buildings and burning cars following the strike, which Kyiv claims killed 40 Russian soldiers
Footage emerged on Friday of Ukrainian forces attacking with a HIMARS battery somewhere in the east of the country, after America agreed to supply the weapons
Russia’s defence ministry announced this morning that its forces had withdrawn from Snake Island, a key strategic outpost 80 miles off Ukraine’s southern coast, in a move which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said shows the futility of the Russian leader’s ambitions in Ukraine.
Putin’s remaining troops on the island fled in the middle of the night in two speedboats with the rocky outcrop left ‘covered in fire’ following a fresh volley of rocket attacks on remaining Russian positions, Ukraine’s military said as Kyiv celebrated the retreat.
The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, published a jubilant message upon learning the news this morning.
‘KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,’ Yermak wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of smoke rising from the island following last night’s attacks.
The 100-acre parcel of land 80 miles off Ukraine’s southern coast was seized by Kremlin forces in the early days of the war but has been pounded by Ukrainian forces in recent weeks in a major offensive involving long-range weapons.
Head of Zelensky’s office Andriy Yermak this morning shared a photo of smoke rising from the island following yet another attack last night
‘KABOOM! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,’ Yermak wrote in a jubilant social media post
Russia’s defence ministry immediately tried to paint the retreat as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ designed to help the flow of grain exports as it confirmed the withdrawal of its troops.
But the retreat represents a humiliating strategic blow for Putin in a war that has seen him lose tens of thousands of soldiers and vast amounts of military equipment.
‘In the end, it will prove impossible for Putin to hold down a country that will not accept his rule,’ Boris Johnson told a news conference after a NATO summit in Madrid.
‘We’ve seen what Ukraine can do to drive the Russians back. We’ve seen what they did around Kyiv and Kharkiv, now on Snake Island.
‘I think the right thing for us is to keep going on the course that NATO has set out, no matter how difficult.’
It comes as NATO leaders continue to hold talks in Madrid where Joe Biden yesterday announced that America will deploy thousands more troops to Europe along with fighters, air defences and ships in a major reinforcement of the alliance’s eastern flank in a new Iron Curtain to protect the continent from Russia.