Russian generals sent to Ukraine front line 'because troop morale is so low'

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Russian generals are dying in Ukraine because they're being sent to the front line to boost troops' faltering morale, according to Western officials
Russian generals are dying in Ukraine because they're being sent to the front line to boost troops' faltering morale, according to Western officials

Russia is believed to be sending its generals to the front line of its war in Ukraine in a bid to bolster low morale among troops.

According to Western officials, Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has "largely stalled on all fronts", with Russia making "minimal progress" and suffering heavy losses.

The Russian President is said to be frustrated at the lack of progress, which has seen his troops fail to seize any major cities despite heavy bombardment of them.

On Thursday Ukrainian officials claimed a fourth Russian general has been killed during fighting in the city of Mariupol.

Watch: Who are the dead Russian military officers and what do their deaths mean?

"We think that one of the reasons why a number generals appear to be killed is because things are going badly they have to go closer to the front to guide their troops… to provide more supervision," one Western official said.

Read more: Boy, 11, who travelled 600 miles across Ukraine alone reunites with his family in Slovakia

"Therefore, they’re going further forward and therefore becoming vulnerable to enemy action."

Answering a question about the role of the Russian Air Force and its vulnerability to Ukrainian countermeasures, he added: "I think we are seeing a reasonable amounts of evidence of very, very low morale amongst the Russian forces which may well be playing into the ... necessity of senior officers to go to the front."

On Thursday, Ukraine said Major General Oleg Mityaev became the fourth Russian general to be killed in the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine's Ministry of Defence said that Major General Vitaly Petrovich Gerasimov was killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Wiki Commons)
Ukraine's Ministry of Defence said that Major General Vitaly Petrovich Gerasimov was killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)
Major General Andriy Kolesnikov is one of four Russian generals Ukraine claims has died in the war. (Twitter/Ukrainian Armed Forces)
Major General Andriy Kolesnikov is one of four Russian generals Ukraine claims has died in the war. (Twitter/@ArmedForcesUkr)

Fellow officers Major Generals Andrei Sukhovetsky, Vitaly Gerasimov and Andrei Kolesnikov have all also been reported dead by Ukrainian officials in separate incidents.

Only the first — Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky — has been confirmed by Russia.

According to some reports, analysts believe that around 20 generals are leading Russian operations in Ukraine.

One source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed that a special unit has been set up to hunt senior Russian commanders, but other suggestions are that their presence near the fiercest fighting is to boost faltering morale among troops.

As of Thursday morning, Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection (SSSCIP) claimed a total of 14,000 Russian troops had died in the conflict.

Russian is continuing its offensive in Ukraine. On Wednesday a theatre in the besieged city of Mariupol, where hundreds of people were sheltering, was hit, while 80% of residential housing in the city is said to have been destroyed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with the head of the Russian Federal Medical-Biological Agency at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 15, 2022. (Photo by Mikhail Klimentyev / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin is said to be frustrated by the lack of progress in his invasion of Ukraine. (Getty)
Apartment buildings seen in city of Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia has launched a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukraine early Thursday and Ukrainian officials said that Russian troops have rolled into the country from the north, east and south. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Russian forces have continued to bombard major Ukrainian cities, including Mariupol. (AP)
TOPSHOT - An aerial view shows firemen working in the rubble of a residential building which was hit by the debris from a downed rocket in Kyiv on March 17, 2022. - One person was killed and three injured when debris from a downed rocket hit a Kyiv apartment block, as Russian forces press in on the capital, emergency services said. Russian troops trying to encircle Kyiv have launched early morning strikes on the city for several successive days, putting traumatised residents further on edge. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian troops have besieged Kyiv as they try to take the city. (Getty)

Despite the continuing offensive, British defence intelligence analysts believe Russia is being forced to divert “large numbers” of troops to defend its supply lines.

In its latest intelligence briefing, the Ministry of Defence said: "The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts.

"Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses.

"Ukrainian resistance remains staunch and well-coordinated. The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands."

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