One of Moscow’s top generals was killed amid severe battle in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas area, according to Russian official media.
According to a reporter for the state-owned Rossiya 1, Maj Gen Roman Kutuzov was killed while conducting an attack on a Ukrainian hamlet in the area.
According to Alexander Sladkov, Gen Kutuzov was commanding forces from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Russian defense ministry has not responded to the claims.
“The general had led soldiers into attack, as if there are not enough colonels,” Mr Sladkov wrote on the Telegram social media app. “On the other hand, Roman was the same commander as everyone else, albeit a higher rank.”
Ukraine’s military also acknowledged Gen Kutuzov’s death, but provided no other information regarding the circumstances.
His death follows reports on social media that a second senior officer, Lt Gen Roman Berdnikov, commander of the 29th Army, was killed in action over the weekend. The BBC has not been able to independently verify the claims.
Russian commanders have been progressively pushed to the front lines in an effort to push the invasion ahead, and Moscow has reported the deaths of three top generals.
Kyiv claims to have killed 12 generals, whereas Western intelligence sources claim to have killed at least seven top commanders.
However, there has been some doubt over the deaths of numerous more Russian officials. Three generals that Ukrainian troops claimed to have slain have since been found alive.
Maj Gen Vitaly Gerasimov was murdered near the country’s second city of Kharkiv in March, according to Ukrainian troops. However, on May 23, Russian official media said that he had been bestowed a state honor and denied news of his death.
Maj Gen Magomed Tushaev, another leader, looked to be still alive and appears in social media videos on a regular basis.
On the 18th of March, Kiev claimed that Lt Gen Andrey Mordvichev was killed in an airstrike in the Kherson area. He then appeared in a video conference with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and BBC Russia verified his survival on May 30.
Generals’ deaths are seldom formally acknowledged in Russia. Prior to Maj Gen Vladimir Frolov’s burial in St Petersburg in April, no word regarding his death had surfaced in state media.
Even in times of peace, Russia considers military casualties to be state secrets, and it has not updated its official fatality counts in Ukraine since March 25, when it stated that 1,351 Russian servicemen had been killed since President Vladimir Putin started his invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
A member of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inner circle told the Wall Street Journal in March that a team of Ukrainian military intelligence personnel had been charged with tracking down and targeting Russia’s officer class.
“They look for high profile generals, pilots, artillery commanders,” the official said. They added that the officers were then targeted either with sniper fire or artillery.