Tuesday, September 26

War in Ukraine | The high number of Russian generals and officers killed in combat causes stupor in the West

It is one of the most discussed aspects among experts and Western military commanders after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In an age of war where commanders barely step onto the battlefield, Russia might have lost. to up to eight generals in just over two months of war, although it is a number difficult to confirm given the secrecy with which the Kremlin manages its military casualties. In the list of senior officers killed in combat, there are even some with an illustrious surname, such as Vitaly Gerasimovnephew of Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Army General Staff. To these numbers must be added the dozens of colonels Russians who, according to Ukrainian sources, have died as a result of the enemy military actions. “This is a shocking figure,” he stressed. Michael Mc Faula former US ambassador to Russia and a great connoisseur of the country.

The first casualty of a general occurred four days later the start of the military campaign. Andrei Sukhovetskydeputy commander of 41st Combined Arms Armywas shot down by a sniper positioned 1,500 meters away in the town of Hostomel, occupied by Russian clothes until the beginning of April and home to an important airport where the gigantic Antonov cargo planes, the pride of the Ukrainian industry, are tested. The news was released by a colleague in arms on Twitter and reproduced by the pro-government newspaper Pravda, which comes to be, de facto, an official confirmation of the death by Moscow. Sukhovetsky of 47 years, He had only been in the post for a few months, for which he had been appointed in the autumn last year.

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Major impact death

But the death that has perhaps caused the greatest impact has been that of Andrey Palya naval commander killed in the coastal city of Mariúpol “despite the small number of naval battles” that the war has generated, highlights the magazine Foreign Policy. Or even that of Gerasimov himself, supposedly shot down during the battle of kharkivthe country’s second largest city, due to a security bug in communications, as deduced from a intercepted conversation subsequently by the Ukrainian military. In relative terms, the figure is in line with that recorded during the Second World War, during which four hundred Soviet generals lost their lives.

Experts believe that the dysfunctional chain of command in the Russian Army is the main reason behind this high death rate among senior officers. “The Russian Army does not delegate too much and it lacks a consistent cadre of non-commissioned officers,” he assures EL PERIÓDICO Douglas London, retired CIA agent, professor at Georgetown University, and author of The Recruiter, his memoirs as head of counterintelligence in South Asia. For this reason, London maintains, “generals have to manage the details, which forces them to be closer to the limits on the battlefield,” he continues, before recalling that the number of generals per capita in the Russian Army is “higher than among NATO forces” precisely because of this imbalance.

Lack of coordination between commands

A similar idea expressed in a telephone conversation Jesus A. Nunez Villaverdeco-director of Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action (IECAH). “The chain of command doesn’t work, and that forces officers to go into the field to convince” lower-ranking military officers to carry out orders. This expert has also identified “a great lack of coordination” between the different commands, a problem that has only been remedied by Moscow recently, with the appointment of General Aleksandr Dvornikov, veteran of the Syrian war, as the supreme military commander in charge of the military operation.

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Furthermore, everything seems to indicate that ukrainian forces“are deliberately targeting the generals, aware of the enormous impact their elimination has on the chain of command and in control” (of the Russian military operation), notes former agent London. “They have technology, intelligence support and common sense,” he continues. Ultimately, it has been found flagrant cases of lack of respect for basic security rules when establishing communication on the battlefield, which facilitates the work of tracking and identifying the Ukrainian forces concerned. There have been cases of “fighter pilots carrying a conventional GPS“recalls, with some incredulity, Núñez Villaverde.

Lastly, Russia is a country where corruption is endemic, a reality from which its Army does not escape, concludes the co-founder of IECAH. The generals expose themselves more and go to the field because once they have taken control of a territory, they try to control it too “informal economy” of the place in question, points out this Spanish expert.


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