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Vladimir Putin loses 42nd colonel in war with Ukraine

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In yet another setback for president Vladimir Putin, Russian troops have lost their 42nd colonel nearly three months into Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Denis Kozlov, 40, died on 11 May while guiding a pontoon ferry to make further advancement of the troops, according to a report by local Russian news outlet Vladimir News.

The colonel was posthumously awarded the Russian Order of Courage and buried in his hometown of Murom in Vladimir Oblast.

He was reportedly the second commander of the 12th Separate Guards Engineers of Keningsbersko-Gorodokskaya Red Banner Brigade to die in the war. Kozlov had replaced 45-year-old Sergei Porokhnya, who was killed on the battlefield on 14 March.

He was among the Russian troops to die near the Siverskyi Donets river. According to Ukraine’s military, Russian forces suffered heavy losses while trying to cross the Siverskyi Donets river near the village of Belogorovka in the Luhansk region.

Satellite images collected by geospatial intelligence firm BlackSky show that a pontoon bridge was destroyed on 10 May after Ukrainian artillery struck the bridge and surrounding area.

Mr Putin’s troops allegedly lost dozens of fighters and nearly “70 units” of equipment, governor of Luhansk region Serhii Haidai said.

“In Bilohorivka, where the enemy tried to create a solid crossing and transfer equipment and personnel to our side, he was partially successful, but now all pontoon crossings have been destroyed, all equipment has been destroyed and the remaining personnel have either been killed or have fled by swimming across to the other side,” the governor said.

The Ukrainian defence ministry had shared the satellite images, saying their artillerymen of the 17th tank brigade “have opened the holiday season for ruscists”, referring to Russian soldiers.

“Some bathed in the Siverskyi Donets River, and some were burned by the May sun,” it said.

Ukraine on Wednesday said that more than 28,300 Russian troops have been killed since Mr Putin declared war on the European country on 24 February, forcing over 6.2 million people to flee the country.

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