Thursday, March 30

The chief of the Russian General Staff would have been wounded in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chief of the General Staff Valery Guermasimov. afp

This is stated by sources in kyiv, who point out that Valéri Gerasimov was in the Izium operations center, where the invasion of the Dombas region is coordinated.

General Valeri Gerasimov, chief of the Russian Army’s High General Staff, could have been injured after a devastating attack by Ukrainian artillery on Saturday against Izium, a Ukrainian town located southeast of Kharkov and currently occupied by Russian troops. In Izium, Russia has installed the operations center that coordinates the offensive to occupy the entire Donbass region, which includes the two self-proclaimed “people’s epublics” of Donetsk and Lugansk. From there the Russian troops try to break through the Ukrainian defenses to take Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

The information indicating that Gerasimov could have been injured in Izium was released this Sunday on his Telegram account by the adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, Anton Geráshenko. According to his investigations, the attack on Saturday against the Russian military base in Izium “ended the lives of several Russian officers” – But this event has not been confirmed in Moscow, nor if it is true that the chief of the General Staff was there verifying the offensive and was actually hit by the bombs.

On the other hand, Ruslán Leviev, one of the founders of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), maintained on Twitter that this very Sunday the Russian general was evacuated to the neighboring Russian region of Belgorod and from there transferred to Moscow aboard one of the three Tu-154 military transport aircraft that took off almost at the same time. According to Leviev, these three devices, whose exact plate numbers he provides, arrived at Belgorod airport in recent days and belong to the Russian Ministry of Defense and the National Guard (Rosgvardia).

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According to the head of the CIT, the three Tu-154s waited until the arrival of two Mi-8 helicopters from Izium with several wounded and dead on board. They were escorted, according to the same source, by three Ka-52 combat helicopters. Leviev maintains that Gerasimov was among the new arrivals from the Ukraine, but could not guarantee that he was injured since, apparently, he “climbed by his own feet” on the plane.

The publication ‘Ukraine Online’ claims that Gerasimov’s personal bodyguard and Major General Alexei Simonov perished during the bombardment by the Ukrainian Army. According to ‘Ukraine Online’, there were about 40 Russian officers in the command center at the time.

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The fact that Gerasimov had secretly moved to the part of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops had been rumored for a few days. In fact, he was said to have come to ‘inspect’ the preparations for the planned push towards Sloviansk. Despite the fact that the intensification of operations in the Donbass region – thus renouncing the occupation of Kiev – was announced more than a month ago, so far the advances of the Russian troops have been minimal.

In the opinion of the specialist in Ukrainian military issues, Oleg Zhdanov, a colonel in the reserve, “for Russia now the Izium offensive towards Donbas is the priority (…) this is where it is concentrating its main force,” he said in statements to the television channel Ukraine 24. He added that “Russian military chiefs came there apparently to direct this operation.”

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