Who was Vitaly Gerasimov? Ukrainian forces kill second Russian general within a week
Russia suffered another significant loss within a week as Ukrainian forces reportedly killed top army official Major General Vitaly Gerasimov in combat outside Kharkiv. Ukrainian intelligence claimed that Gerasimov, the Chief of Staff with Russia's 41st Combined Arms Army, was eliminated outside the eastern Ukrainian city, along with other senior officers. If the claim is true, Gerasimov would be Russia's second army general killed by Ukrainian forces within barely a few days.
Before this, Ukrainian defense forces reportedly killed Russian Maj Gen Andrei Sukhovetsky earlier in the week in combat. The Kremlin-backed Pravda has confirmed that Sukhovetsky was killed "during a special operation in Ukraine". Sukhovetsky's death has not been officially confirmed by Russia's Ministry of Defence but was announced on social media by his colleague Sergey Chipilyov. It was also reported by several Russian and Ukrainian news outlets. Meanwhile, Gerasimov's death is yet to be announced officially by the Russian Ministry of Defence but was confirmed by Ukrainian Defence Ministry.
Ukraine's Defence Ministry stated that they verified the information via an intercepted conversation between two Russian FSB officers, who were discussing the death of General Vitaliy Gerasimov. The unnamed officers also revealed that their secure communication channels within Ukraine are not functional anymore.
Gerasimov's death was also confirmed by a Russian source via the investigative journalism agency Bellingcat, who also identified the senior FSB officer in the conversation.
Vitaliy Gerasimov served in the Russian military since 1995, fighting during the Second Chechen War as well as the Russian military operations in Syria. Throughout his illustrious career in the army, he had received eight awards for his military services. He was also awarded a special medal for his military contribution during the Annexation of Crimea.
The news of Gerasimov's death comes at a time when the Russian forces are already facing a setback due to a defiant Ukrainian resistance, logistical problems, food shortage, and poor morale. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the country's army and civilian resistance, claiming that the war had turned out to be a "nightmare" for Russia.
Kyiv-based defense reporter Illia Ponomarenko reflected on the death of Vitaliy Gerasimov, tweeting, "Major General Vitaliy Gerasimov, the chief of staff with Russia’s 41st Combined Arms Army, has been eliminated by Ukraine's military intelligence operators. I still don’t get it what Russians are hoping for in this war."
Author Ruslan Trad noted, "Another war criminal on whose conscience lies the death of civilians on two continents."
Major General Vitaliy Gerasimov, the chief of staff with Russia’s 41st Combined Arms Army, has been eliminated by Ukraine's military intelligence operators.— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) March 7, 2022
I still don’t get it what Russians are hoping for in this war. pic.twitter.com/LBWPYpAFMN
Vitaliy Gerasimov, a high-rank Russian officer, who took part in the second Chechen war, the war in Syria, and the annexation of Crimea, was killed by the Ukrainian forces near Kharkiv.— Ruslan Trad (@ruslantrad) March 7, 2022
Another war criminal on whose conscience lies the death of civilians on two continents.
Social media is also abuzz with rumors that Maj General Vitaliy Gerasimov was related to Russian Army General Valery Gerasimov. However, there are no official reports linking the two, and the claims of them being father-son or uncle and nephew seem to be unsubstantiated.