Ukraine’s intense offensive against Russian forces has struck several severe blows at the heart of the Kremlin’s military hierarchy. Reports suggest that top generals and commanders from Moscow have been obliterated, leaving the Russian military in a state of disarray.
A Devastating Assault
Kyiv’s special forces orchestrated a devastating assault, striking the core of the Russian military leadership.
Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of the Black Sea Fleet and a key figure in annexed Crimea, was allegedly targeted in a missile attack on the fleet’s headquarters in Sevastopol, and the Kremlin remains silent on the matter.
Since the beginning of the slow-burning counter-offensive by Ukraine, Russian Colonel Andrey Kondrashkin was also eliminated in July. Kondrashkin led the charge which took over Mariupol in 2022.
Another Significant Blow
Another significant blow to Russia’s top military command was the death of Vasily Popov, who was in charge of the 247th Air Assault Regiment just days before Kondrashkin.
His predecessor, Colonel Contastine Zizevsky, met his fate in 2022.
While reports suggest Admiral Viktor Sokolov’s demise, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video depicting top officers, apparently including Sokolov, in a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, but can they be trusted?
Experts acknowledge this as a remarkable achievement, disrupting the Russian forces’ ability to plan and coordinate operations, “the liquidation of the commander of one of the Russian strike formations is a serious achievement,” said journalist Yurii Butusov.
A Shift in the War’s Dynamic
Since the beginning of the war, no higher general has been neutralized by Ukrainian forces, making this a significant moment in the war’s dynamic.
Ukraine’s tactics are “part of a wider strategy to disrupt their enemies’ command-and-control network, with the ultimate goal of significantly degrading Russian forces’ ability to plan and conduct coordinated operations,” said Frederico Borsari, Leonardo Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Analysis.
Former Ukrainian soldier Viktor Kovalenko said that targeting top military commanders causes “temporary localized chaos” among the Russian military.
Hampering Russian Advancement
The loss of senior leaders not only hampers Russia’s ability to react and plan but also disrupts their coordination and decreases motivation.
Retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges said, “It slows down the Russians’ ability to react, to anticipate. It disrupts their planning because now they’ve got to reconstruct, they’ve got to rebuild or find a new place.”
Ukraine’s relentless offensive, punctuated by calculated strikes on Russian military leadership, raises the stakes in the ongoing conflict, putting pressure on the Kremlin.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / OLEH SLEPCHENKO
Source: News Week