Official Ukrainian sources on May 1 said devastating artillery strikes on a Russian military headquarters may have injured the senior general in the Russian Army, Valery Gerasimov, along with killing or wounding dozens of other military personnel, many of them senior members of the officer’s corps.
A statement from Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said a pair of surprise bombardments hit Russian military command centers in the Izyum area of Kharkiv region overnight April 30-May 1.
The main target was an army headquarters and the second was a headquarters for an airborne infantry unit, the statement said.
According to Ukrainian news reports, Gerasimov travelled from Moscow to the command post near Izyum on April 29 to take personal command over a major Russian offensive in the sector, aimed at capturing the Donetsk regional town of Kramatorsk and encircling Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) units further east.
Ukrainian media were quick to report the strikes wounded Gerasimov, but the claims were not repeated by official UAF sources.
Social media sites in Russia appeared to confirm Gerasimov had indeed been wounded, most accounts stemming from a public post by Russian political scientist Valery Solovei, who said: “Gerasimov received a shrapnel wound in the upper third of the right shin without a bone fracture. The fragment was removed, there is no danger to [his] life.”
Ukrainian news reports following the strikes said that among the dead was Maj. Gen. Andrei Simonov, head of the Russian Army’s radio-electric warfare division.
Ukrainian military video published during the afternoon of April 30 purportedly of some of the strikes, showed images of heavy artillery shells systematically pounding and destroying a concentration of Russian command vehicles, field antennas and trucks.
Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential administration advisor frequently commenting publicly on military developments, in an April 30 evening interview said artillery “completely eliminated” a Russian command center near the Kharkiv regional village of Zabavne, and that Simonov’s alleged death was likely but “needed to be confirmed”.
Arestovych estimated the number of Russian officers and command center staff personnel killed and wounded in the strikes at between 100 and 300 personnel.
He made no comment about Gerasimov.
If his death were confirmed, Simonov would become the tenth Russian general officer killed in combat since Kremlin despot Vladimir Putin ordered a renewed invasion of the neighboring country on Feb. 24.
Solovei’s comments said nothing about Simonov’s status, but estimated that “dozens of people” were present at the headquarters when hit, and that “about half of them” did not survive the strikes.
According to Ukraine, Russian units have suffered more than 22,000 casualties since the renewed invasion.
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