A Russian commander with an apparent habit of posting his running routes on social media has been shot dead while jogging in the city of Krasnodar.

Who’s the victim?

Stanislav Rzhytsky was the deputy head of the department for mobilization and, according to reports, a former commander of the Krasnodar submarine which has been used to launch deadly missile strikes against Ukrainian cities.

His death was first confirmed by Russia’s state TASS news agency which said a police investigation into the killing was underway.

Who killed him?

That’s yet to be confirmed, but Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence (HUR) on Monday morning confirmed the shooting and while they didn’t take responsibility, they included a number of very specific details that only someone very familiar with the killing would know.

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In a post on Telegram, they wrote: “Stanislav Rzhytsky, the former commander of the submarine ‘Krasnodar’ of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy, was shot dead in Krasnodar, Russia.

“On July 10, he jogged in the Krasnodar Park of Culture and Recreation named after the 30th anniversary of victory.

“Around six in the morning, seven shots were fired at him from a Makarov pistol. As a result of gunshot wounds, Rzytsky died on the spot.”

That is very specific, did they say anything else?

Yes, they even knew the weather at the time and are very confident the shooter got away unseen.

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They wrote: “Due to heavy rain, the park was deserted, so there are no witnesses who could provide details or identify the attacker.”

Later on Tuesday, the Russian FSB security services said a 64-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack.

How did the shooter know where he would be?

This is where it gets even more interesting. The exercise app Strava, on which runners record their runs and compete online against other users, has a profile under the name of Stanislav Rzhytsky.

Pictures posted on the account show a man with more than a passing resemblance to the Russian commander and the last activity he posted was a cycle in the hills outside of Krasnodar on July 9, the city where he was shot dead.

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The last run the account posted shows he ran close to Olimp sports complex, the exact location of the shooting.

So, someone was watching his runs?

That has yet to be established but there is an even more surreal twist to the story – one of only four accounts on Monday evening that had liked the post about Rzhytsky’s last run shares the name of Major General Kyrylo Budanov – the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence.

So, it was Ukraine that assassinated Rzhytsky?

We can neither confirm nor deny that Ukraine was behind the shooting and it’s highly unlikely that Kyiv will publicly go beyond the statement already released by the HUR.

UPDATE: In a statement reported by the Guardian later on Tuesday, Budanov said: "Statements by some media and politicians that the GUR has something to do with the death of Stanislav Rzhitsky have no basis."

A Kyiv-sanctioned assassination is certainly in the realm of possibility – earlier this year Budanov admitted Ukraine is behind the assassinations of prominent Russian propagandists, saying: “We’ve already successfully targeted quite a few people,” The Times reported.

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“There have been well-publicized cases everyone knows about, thanks to the media coverage.”

Although Budanov did not specify exactly which individuals have been targeted, since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, several prominent pro-Kremlin figures have been killed or wounded on Russian territory.

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Comments (5)

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I support
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How stupid was that they seem to think there untouchable. But they can get you anywhere stupid .

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Ukrainian Canadian
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Excellent news. Great day to go for a run and not maintain any signals discipline. God bless Budanov! Heroiam slava.

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VPRG
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Budanov liked the post? What a troll master.

Jat Herne
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@VPRG,

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Imokru2
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Will Putin take up jogging and post his schedule?

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Steven Turko
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I just wanted to say, about this Russian getting shot, I think this is great. I do not want anyone to die. However due to Russias actions, I find this wonderful.

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