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The circumstances of the 47-year-old’s death were not immediately clear, but the Kremlin-backed newspaper Pravda said he was killed “during a special operation in Ukraine”.
According to the Russian state-owned tast news agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin Sukhovitsky was appointed deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army of the Central Military District last year. He was also chief of the 7th Airborne Division, served in Syria and earned praise from the Kremlin for his bravery.
“The truth is that we killed him,” Volodymyr Omelyan, a former Ukrainian infrastructure minister who joined the militia in Kyiv, told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
A senior defense official said the United States was not immediately able to confirm his death.
But multiple reports cited a post on the Russian social media platform VKontakte that was attributed to Sergei Chepelev, a member of the Russian military officers’ group.
“It is with great pain that we learned of the tragic news of the death of our friend, Major General Andrei Sokovetsky on the territory of Ukraine during the special operation,” he wrote, according to a translation published by the Russian English-language channel, Pravda.ru. We express our sincere condolences to his family.”
The Kremlin maintains that its military presence in Ukraine is a “special operation” and not an invasion or war.
But Russian forces have attacked targets across the country since entering from the north, east and south last week. Although Ukraine’s defenses are outnumbered and armed, Western intelligence analysts have said they appear to have put up more resistance than Putin expected.
“If that’s true, it’s big,” Dan Hoffman, a former CIA officer and station chief, said of Sukhovsky’s death.
It could strengthen the steadfast resolve of the Ukrainian army and represent a tactical victory.
It seems that a huge Russian military convoy stopped outside Kyiv for several days, due to logistical problems and the Ukrainian army. But Putin’s forces captured the port city of Kherson, with a population of 300,000. They were also bombing Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, and the Defense Forces of Mariupol, another waterfront hub.
Russian forces also said they had captured the area around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhya, near the riverside city of Enerhodar. Reports indicate that the facility is burning.
A successful campaign across Ukraine’s southern coastal region could create a land bridge for Russian forces between the homeland and Crimea, which it has occupied since 2014. It would also prevent Ukraine from shipping.
Russia reported Wednesday morning that it had lost 498 soldiers. Ukrainian officials claim that number could be as high as 9,000 – but have not released the numbers of their victims.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall, Jennifer Griffin and Sarah RampfAnd the The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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