Vladimir Putin has lost another colonel – the 57th in just four months of war, as fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine.
Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kislyakov, 40, was buried on Thursday with full military honors in his hometown in the Moscow region.
Kislyakov, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, is the 57th known colonel to have been killed since president Putin ordered his troops to launch a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
According to reports, Kislyakov was a deputy chief of staff in Russia’s army and head of the operational department of the 11th Airborne Brigade. Commenting on his death, a Ukrainian soldier said: “Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kislyakov left the chat. Officially denazified and demilitarized. Glory to the Nation.”
No details have been given about where in Ukraine he was killed – but his death highlights the appalling losses of high-ranking officers suffered by Russia.
Russia on Thursday announced that it would be withdrawing its troops from Snake Island, off the coast of the Black Sea, as a “gesture of goodwill.” The ministry said the move showed Russia was not impeding United Nations efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor to export agricultural products out of Ukraine.
Ukraine celebrated the announcement while Boris Johnson said it marked Kyiv’s ability to fight back against Russia. “Kaboom! No Russian troops on the Snake Island anymore. Our Armed Forces did a great job,” the head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, wrote on Twitter.
Snake Island, which Russia occupied on the first day of its invasion, achieved worldwide fame when Ukrainian border guards stationed there rejected a Russian warship’s demand for their surrender.
Earlier this month, Russia lost another senior colonel Sergei Postnov who was killed in combat. He was part of a military propaganda unit in the Russian National Guard, which reports directly to Vladimir Putin.
He had been on active duty with Russian forces close to Kyiv, in Kharkiv, as well as more recently in the Luhansk region.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russia has lost about 35,600 personnel since the invasion began. Colonel Pavel Kislyakov was the 57th known colonel to die in combat, while he is believed at least 12 generals have been killed in Ukraine.
The most recent general lost was confirmed this month as Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov, who was killed leading an assault on a Ukrainian settlement in the Donbas region, a reporter with the state-owned Rossiya 1 said.