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Putin ‘loses another colonel’ as Russia continues to face setbacks in Ukraine

Putin ‘loses another colonel’ as Russia continues to face setbacks in Ukraine

A Russian colonel has reportedly been killed in Ukraine as Vladimir Putin’s troops continue to be hit by major setbacks more than a month into the war.

Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov, 43, was an elite paratrooper with the 83rd separate air brigade based in Ussuriysk in eastern Russia.

The exact nature of his death is unclear but his brigade is believed to have suffered major losses amid fierce fighting with Ukrainian troops.

Mr Slabstov is the latest high-profile Russian military figure to be killed.

At least eight other Russian colonels are believed to have been killed during the war in Ukraine.

Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov (east2west news)
Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov (east2west news)

Colonel Denis Kurilo, commander of the 200th Separate Motor Rifle brigade, was killed in battle this week during an assault on Kharkiv.

Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko, chief of the Western Military District engineer troops, was killed in an ambush that left 18 Russians dead near a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River.

A funeral was held for Mr Slabtsov and he has been posthumously awarded military honours.

Funeral of Lt Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov (east2west news)
Funeral of Lt Colonel Vitaly Slabtsov (east2west news)

Russia has lost between 7,000 and 15,000 troops since the invasion of Ukraine, western military officials believe.

Slabtsov was from Ryazan, in central Russia, home to the prestigious Ryazan Guards Higher Airborne School for paratroopers.

It comes as Russia continues to withdraw some of its ground forces from areas around Kyiv after saying earlier this week it would reduce military activity near the Ukrainian capital and the northern city of Chernihiv.

Ukraine’s military said it had retaken 29 settlements in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions.

According to reports, Russia appears to be shifting troops to eastern parts of the country as it prepares for a full-scale assault on the Donbas region.