Fresh blow for Putin as naval chief becomes sixth top military official to die

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Fighters from Chechen Republic have been airlifted out of Ukraine after devastating losses, intelligence sources claim.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said the troops, also known as Kadyrovites, had returned to Chechnya's capital Grozny.

The SBU said that the soldiers had been pulled out after enduring a high death toll in the first three weeks of the war, reports The Mirror.

Reports of Chechen troops participating in Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in the first days of the Russian invasion on February 24.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov promised earlier this month to "finish" anyone refusing to surrender and boasted about his troops forcing Ukrainian soldiers to flee.

On February 26, a video began circulating of Chechen servicemen hoisting a Russian flag on a military unit building in Gostomel, a village 50 kilometres northwest of the Ukrainian capital.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine authenticated the video, but denied the claims within it that they had fought off three Ukrainian advances – saying that the area invaded was empty at the time.

A day later, three days after the invasion began, commander of the 141st Motorized Regiment of the Chechen Rosguard, General Magomed Tushayev, died.

During efforts to land at Gostomel airport from February 26 and 28, "several hundred" Chechen fighters lost their lives, SBU intelligence officers say.

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A large column of what appeared to be Kadyrovites fighters and military machines was then filmed in Bucha, north of Kyiv.

Subsequent video emerged of airstrikes being launched at it and the wreckage of many of the army vehicles.

Kadyrov, who is President of Chechnya, initially denied casualties among his fighters, but on February 28 he acknowledged the deaths of two Chechen servicemen, while not giving their names.

"Unfortunately, there are casualties among the natives of the Chechen Republic. Two died and six others were injured," he wrote on Telegram.

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Claims from both sides regarding lives lost and the current location of troops are difficult to verify, given the contested area in which the Chechens were operating.

According to SBU counterintelligence, on March 13, the Kadyrovites were evacuated from the territory of the Kyiv region via Belarus and further by air to Chechnya.

At the same time, Kadyrov announced that he was sending a thousand more of his fighters to Ukraine.

Footage that has emerged in the last few days suggests that there are at least some Chechen fighters are still involved in the invasion.

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On Tuesday, Kadyrov announced that his fighters were leading the attack on the city of Mariupol, having entered Ukraine from the east.

He published a video which showed a number of soldiers firing at the upper floors of a building that had been hit by an airstrike, before they are seen appearing to help people evacuate.

Ukrainian troops have taken to taunting the Chechens, who come from a predominantly Muslim part of Russia.

Ukraine’s National Guard posted a video of fighters from the Azov Battalion, some members of which were accused of committing potential war crimes by the United Nations in 2016, greasing bullets in pork fat and warning them to go home.

  • Military
  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war

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The deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has been shot dead by Ukraine's forces the besieged nation has claimed in yet another significant blow to Vladimir Putin's military.

While Kyiv claims to have killed five army generals, first rank captain Andrey Paliy, 51, is the only senior naval officer allegedly killed in the war in Ukraine.

His death came as Russia claimed to have hit a training facility for foreign fighters killing more than 100 special forces personnel and non-Ukrainian mercenaries.

Konstantin Tsarenko, secretary of the public council of the Sevastopol Nakhimov Naval School and friend to Paliy, has appeared to confirm the officer's death, although it has not been officially acknowledged by Moscow.

However, the exact circumstances of his reported death are not known, but one account said that the naval officer had been involved with Russian marine attacks near Mariupol.

Paliy was born in Kyiv and in 1993 refused to take the Ukrainian military oath, instead serving in the Russian Northern Fleet.

He had earlier served on the Russian nuclear missile cruiser "Peter the Great”, and as the deputy head of the Russian naval academy in Sevastopol, in annexed Crimea.

Ukrainian official Anton Gerashchenko claimed Paliy’s death early today without giving further details.

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Russia again today used hypersonic Kinzhal missiles on “military targets” in Ukraine, according to the defence ministry in Moscow.

“A Kinzhal attack on a fuel and lubricants base from which fuel for Ukrainian armoured vehicles was supplied was launched from the airspace over Crimea,” said a statement.

High-precision airborne missiles also struck a training centre for “foreign mercenaries” near the village of Ovruch, in Zhytomyr Region, claimed then Russians.

The type of missile strike was not specified, however the statement added: “More than 100 servicemen of [Ukraine’s] special operations forces and foreign mercenaries were killed.”

Andrey Paliy's death is a fresh sucker punch to Putin's botched but brutal invasion, which has already seen more than five of the despot's top military men lose their lives.

Previous reports say Russia has lost seven elite SWAT fighters and five of their Major-Generals. Paliy's death brings this death toll to six.

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Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev, one of Putin's most senior commanders and in charge of the 8th All-Military Army of the Kremlin's vast Southern Military District was killed in conflict in Chornobaivka, near the southern city of Kherson.

Major-General Oleg Mityaev, 47, commander of the army’s feared 150th motorised rifle division, was killed in the storming of Mariupol, says Ukraine.

Major-General Andrei Kolesnikov, of the 29th combined army, was killed in fighting on March 11, according to official Ukrainian sources.

Major-General Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of Russia's 41st combined army, was killed on March 7, outside the eastern city of Kharkiv, according to Ukraine's defence ministry.

Major-General Andrey Sukhovetsky, a deputy commander at the same unit as Gerasimov, was reportedly killed by a sniper on 3 March.

  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war
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