While precise casualty figures for Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine are still hard to come by, the Russian media has begun to report deaths among the invading force.
Russian news site Chita reported this week that crack sniper Sergei Tsarkov had been killed in combat, and has posthumously been awarded the Order of Courage medal.
One comrade of Tsarkov’s is quoted as saying "Sergey Igorevich Tsarkov served in a rifle company of snipers.
“He was the best sniper in the brigade. Everyone respected him very much, he was a professional, enjoyed authority. No one could believe that this could happen to him”.
Tsarkov was reportedly one of the Russian Army’s deadliest snipers, regularly winning the Sniper Frontier competition in the International Army Games tournament – a test of military skill for Russian forces and fighters from allied states such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Venezuela.
Tsarkov was born in 1983 in Borzya, a town in south-eastern Russia with some 30,000 inhabitants. His funeral took place on April 10.
Ukraine claims that Russia has lost more than 28,300 troops since the invasion began 12 weeks ago, although independent estimates suggest a figure closer to half that. About 11,000 Ukrainians are believed to have lost their lives in the same period.
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A blame game has broken out in the Kremlin, with a number of senior commanders being disciplined for the failure of the invasion.
Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, has been suspended after his regiment failed to capture Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, according to a briefing from the Ministry of Defence.
Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, is also believed “likely” to been suspended said a Ministry spokesman.
The MoD said: “In recent weeks, Russia has fired senior commanders who are considered to have performed poorly during the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine. A culture of cover-ups and scapegoating is probably prevalent within the Russian military and security system.”
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