Another Russian general, retired Air Force Major General Banamat Botashev, has been reported dead in Ukraine

Three months after Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, another Russian general was reportedly killed by Ukrainian forces.

Retired Russian Air Force Major General Banamat Botashev, 63, is the 13th general to die on Ukrainian territory since Russia’s February 24 invasion, according to a tally by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. (Russia’s Defense Ministry has only confirmed two, and U.S. officials have not given an exact number). He was reportedly shot down by Ukrainian forces over the Luhansk region on Sunday, becoming the most senior air force commander to be killed in the war.

The Ukrainian military had announced the downing of a Su-25 fighter jet and published a photo allegedly showing the burning aftermath. It was said the pilot did not have time to exit.

The BBC’s Russian service said it was able to confirm Botashev’s death by speaking to several men previously under his command who remained in touch with him.

“Farewell, Commander… There are few people on this planet who have lived in heaven like you. Heaven takes the best, today it took you,” read a message posted to a Telegram channel dedicated to Russian fighter pilots.

“Kanamat died today! Popasna District, 8:25 am … ​​The first attack was NARs [unguided air-to-surface missiles]the second – bombs … A stinger [missile] On the way out, an explosion in the air and… That’s it,” read another message, which was later deleted.

It wasn’t clear why Botashev was involved in the war after he retired, but the BBC quoted his former subordinates as saying he probably “just couldn’t stay on the sidelines”. He may also have been sent to Ukraine as part of a recruitment initiative for the Wagner Group, a private military contractor linked to the Russian Defense Ministry and reportedly the Kremlin.

The Russian Defense Ministry has not yet commented on reports of Botashev’s death.

If confirmed, it would be yet another setback for a “military special operation” plagued by low morale among troops, equipment failure and countless war crimes allegations.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russian troops have been routinely caught condemning their own leadership and bemoaning their losses in wiretapped telephone conversations with loved ones at home.

Ukraine’s security service released another such call on Tuesday, purporting to show a soldier complaining that Ukrainian forces wiped out one of Russia’s most advanced units in the south of the country.

“There is nothing left of the 58th Army [of the southern military district]’ said the soldier.

“Valery Bakin served in the 58th Army. Not a single member of his squadron is still alive. Not one! They basically killed everyone. The whole squadron. We also have squadrons where only three or four people are alive.” Another Russian general, retired Air Force Major General Banamat Botashev, has been reported dead in Ukraine


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