Russian tank boss dies suddenly hours after Putin mysteriously cancels meeting

A former Russian army commander died "suddenly" the day after Vladimir Putin abruptly cancelled a trip to his tank enterprise.

General Alexei Maslov, 69, passed away on Christmas Day in a Moscow military hospital, according to the Uralvagonzavod plant where he worked.

Putin was set to fly to the plant in Nizhny Tagil – which had been criticised by the Kremlin for not producing enough tanks for use in Ukraine – on Christmas Eve.

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But the warmonger cancelled the visit "at the last minute" with no explanation, according to local reports.

The death of Maslov follows the similarly unexplained death of Alexander Buzakov, 65, general director of Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg.

Following the mystery deaths the FSB security service formed an “investigative group”, finding Buzakov had been healthy the day before he died and “nothing had been heard about Maslov's health problems” prior to his death, Telegram channel Redacted number 6 reported

Maslov was the commander-in-chief of Russian ground forces from 2004 to 2008, later taking up the role of Russia's chief military representative to NATO in Brussels.

There, he worked alongside Dmitry Rogozin – an official who had been close to Putin before he was suddenly removed from his post as head of the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmo, over the summer.

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Rogozin, who is recovering in hospital from an injury he sustained from a Ukrainian shell attack, said Maslov was "a very experienced military man, a demanding commander, and a good person."

Meanwhile he described Buzakov's death as "sudden, untimely and tragic."

There is now a long list of Russian officials who have died under mysterious circumstances, one of whom was sausage magnate and regional politician Pavel Antov, who fell to his death from a window in a hotel in India.

His death came shortly after he dubbed Russia's missile strikes on Kyiv as "terror" before quickly taking back the comment.

The news comes amid speculation that Putin's unpopular war in Ukraine may be coming to an end.

The besieged nation has been winning the battle against Russia in recent months, and former United States Army General Ben Hodges told the BBC that they could be on the path to victory by January.

He explained: "Things will move slower over the winter but…by January, Ukraine could be in a position to begin the final phase of the campaign which is the liberation of Crimea.

"When I see the determination of the Ukrainian people and soldiers, and the rapidly improving logistical situation for Ukraine, I see no other outcome but a Russian defeat.

"The Russian pull-out from Kherson has partly led me to this conclusion, firstly as a psychological boost for the Ukrainian people, secondly as a profound embarrassment for the Kremlin, and thirdly by handing Ukraine's forces a key operational advantage – all approaches into Crimea are now within range of Ukrainian weapon systems."

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