The Russian colonel Vitaly Slabtsov was reportedly assassinated in Ukraine as Vladimir Putin’s troops continue to be hit by major setbacks more than a month into the war.
Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov, 43, was an elite paratrooper with the 83rd Separate Airborne Brigade based in Ussuriysk in eastern Russia. The exact nature of his death is unclear, but it is believed that his brigade suffered heavy losses amid fierce fighting with Ukrainian troops.
Slabstov is the latest high-profile Russian military figure to be assassinated. At least eight other Russian colonels are believed to have died during the war in Ukraine.
Slabtsov served in the 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade based in Ussuriysk, in Russia’s far east, and was one of Vladimir Putin’s top Russian colonels.
At the funeral, cemetery workers told reporters that there are three rows of graves reserved for more victims, suggesting another 70 funerals await.
Colonel Denis Kurilo, commander of the 200th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, was killed in battle this week during an assault on Kharkiv.
Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko, chief of the Western Military District engineer troops, was killed in an ambush that left 18 Russians dead near a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River.
It comes as Russia continues to withdraw some of its ground forces from areas around kyiv after saying earlier this week it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv.
Ukraine’s military said it had retaken 29 settlements in the kyiv and Chernihiv regions.
According to reports, Russia appears to be moving troops into eastern parts of the country as it prepares for a full-scale assault on the Donbass region.