Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov was said to be the chief of staff and first deputy commander of the 41st Army of the Central Military District of Russia.
The Ukrainian military says it has killed a second Russian one-star general inside of a week.
A Ukrainian government website and social media posts claimed that the country’s military killed Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, who was said to be the chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Russian 41st Army of the Central Military District. The 41st Army is the conventional ground forces assigned to the Central Military District, which is the combined geographic command of Russian military forces in the sprawling but sparsely populated eastern central areas of the country, spanning from roughly Moscow across Siberia.
In a social media post, a Ukrainian intelligence agency claimed that Gerasimov had been killed in fighting near Kharkiv, one of the closest cities in the country to the northern Russian border and the scene of heavy fighting since the invasion’s early days. The Ukrainian post claimed that Gerasimov had led troops in the 2014 invasion of Crimea.
“A major general of the Russian army was liquidated near Kharkiv,” the post said. “Vitaly Gerasimov took part in the second Chechen military and Russian military operations in Syria. He received a medal ‘for the return of the Crimea.'”
‼Під Харковом ліквідовано генерал-майора російської армії Віталія Герасимова
— Defence intelligence of Ukraine (@DI_Ukraine) March 7, 2022
Several reports on the incident note that Gerasimov is not known to be related to Valery Gerasimov, the current chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, the equivalent of the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The announcement linked to a Ukrainian government website that claimed the death was reported from the field to higher Russian headquarters on an unencrypted cell phone, due to failing communication gear among Russian units.
This is not the worst part. In the phone call in which the FSB officer assigned to the 41st Army reports the death to his boss in Tula, he says they've lost all secure communications. Thus the phone call using a local sim card. Thus the intercept. pic.twitter.com/cgHHo7VaRi
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 7, 2022
The Russian Embassy in Washington did not return an email from Coffee or Die Magazine seeking comment on the report.
If true, the death of Gerasimov would be the second death of a one-star general in under a week, both from the command staff of the 41st Combined Arms Army. A Ukrainian sniper reportedly killed Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, the 41st’s deputy commander, on Thursday, March 3, as the general arrived at a contested airport near Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed his death in a speech.
General officers are rarely killed in direct combat. The last American general to have been killed in combat was Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene on Aug. 5, 2014, at Camp Qargha in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was the highest-ranking American service member to have been killed by hostile action since Lt. Gen. Timothy Maude was killed on 9/11 at the Pentagon, and Greene was the highest-ranking service member killed on foreign soil since Rear Adm. Rembrandt C. Robinson, who was killed in a helicopter crash in May 1972 during the Vietnam War.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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