Ukraine’s counteroffensive has claimed the scalp of Major General Sergey Goryachev, according to Russian sources.

In a post on Telegram, a pro-Kremlin miliblogger reported that 52-year-old was killed in a Ukrainian attack in the Zaporizhzhia region on Monday.

“As a result of an enemy missile attack, Major General Sergei Goryachev, Chief of Staff of the 35th Combined Arms Army, was killed,” they wrote.

Who was Sergey Goryachev?

Goryachev was a Russian career-soldier having graduated from the Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne Command School in 1994.

He rose through the ranks serving in a reconnaissance company and by 2011 was deputy commander of a separate motorized rifle brigade within the combined arms army of the Western Military District.

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In March 2013, he was promoted to head of the operational group of Russian troops in Transnistria and in 2018 he was made commander of the Russian 201st Military Base in Tajikistan.

With the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, he became commander of the 5th Separate Tank Brigade on promotion to Major General, the Moscow Times reports.

Has his death been confirmed?

At the time of writing neither Kyiv nor Moscow had officially commented on it.

Is he the first Major General to be killed by Ukraine?

Far from it – that tally now stands at six, the others being:

·    Major General Kanamat Botashev (retired, allegedly fought in the Wagner PMC)

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·    Major General Roman Kutuzov, Commander, 1st Army Corps, DPR Militia

·    Major General Andrey Sukhovetsky and Deputy Commander of the 8th Army

·    Major General Vladimir Frolov, Deputy Commander, 8th Guards Combined Arms Army

·    Major General Oleg Mityaev, Commander, 150th Motorized Rifle Division

How high up is a Major General?

Pretty high. At the very top level – Putin aside – is the rank of Marshal of the Russian Federation, though Russia has not had anyone with this rank since Igor Sergeyev died in 2006.

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Next up is Army General, a position currently held by Valery Gerasimov, followed by Colonel General, then Lieutenant General and then Major General.

Among the wider Russian top brass, the toll of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been exceptionally heavy for the Kremlin.

As far back as August of last year, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported that ten Russian generals had been killed.

The cumulative effect on consistency of command is likely contributing to Russian tactical and operational difficulties,” the MoD wrote.

A Japanese intelligence assessment in February of this year put the number at 20.

What about wider losses?

Ukraine’s General Staff claimed back in May that the total number of Russian troops killed or wounded during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine had surpassed 200,000.

The figure means Russia has lost a number of troops so large, now estimated to be 216,650, a figure which surpasses entire serving armed forces of many countries.

Only three  NATO armies have more total regular troops than that number – the US, Turkey and France, while the other 28 members all have fewer serving members.

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Even the bottom 16 countries put together do not have more. The British Army ranks fourth with 194,000 regular soldiers, significantly fewer than the total Russian losses.

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