Three Russian generals killed in just over two weeks of war. This, at least according to Ukrainian sources, would be the disastrous toll of the invasion launched by Putin, in addition to the loss of a number of soldiers so high as to require the sending of a corps of 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East and the destruction of 173 tanks. , 322 armored vehicles, 12 helicopters, 12 aircraft, 48 artillery pieces, 345 trucks and 19 multiple rocket launch systems, various estimates state. Even more than the troops, in Moscow it must burn the deaths of three of the twenty generals who are allegedly engaged on the ground in the offensive: another sign, comment the experts of military doctrine, that the Russian advance is not going according to plan.

The last of the three senior officers killed is identified by the Ukrainian government as Major General Andrei Kolesnikov, head of the 29th Mechanized Army. Four days earlier, Major General Vitalij Gerasimov, 45, first deputy commander of the 41st army, a veteran who took part in the second Chechnya war, Russian military operations in Syria and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, would have fallen: some sources claim that he is the son of Valerj Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, one of the three men, along with the Russian president and his defense minister, who must “turn the key” in the event of a nuclear attack being launched . And last week Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, 47-year-old deputy commander of the 41st army, the the only one of the three whose disappearance is confirmed by Russian sources: it was announced by a fellow soldier on social media. He was shot by a Ukrainian sniper during the brutal siege of Mariupol, the city that was the scene of the Russian bombing of a maternity hospital.

The fact that generals expose themselves to the danger of dying in battle could be a sign of frustration at the slow pace of the offensive, Western analysts tell the BBC. Evidently commanders try to whip troops to be more effective, but replacing an experienced general is more difficult than replacing soldiers, the experts themselves note, and their loss could impact troop morale. Experts are impressed by the ineptitude of the tactics employed by the Russian army, as revealed by drone images of a column of Moscow tanks killed one by one in an ambush by Ukrainian forces on the way to Kiev. The decision to march to the capital in single file in a 60-kilometer-long line over attack-prone terrain has become a death trap for some of the invaders.

The fear of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Western leaders is that the Kremlin will respond to these missteps by raising the level of the confrontation, that is, by focusing more and more on aerial bombings and rockets against cities, if not even on chemical weapons, to weaken resistance. As French sources indicated after Macron and Scholz’s phone call to the Russian president yesterday to ask him once again for a ceasefire, “Putin replied that he wants to continue the war”. For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a capital emptied of women and children, transformed into a fortress, warns: “Russia will only take Kiev if it razes it to the ground”. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Putin has already done in Groznyj, in Chechnya, and in Aleppo, in Syria.

Categorized in: