Russian president, Vladimir Putin has lost another commander – the 15th of his top military leaders to be killed as the country’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second month.
Colonel Alexei Sharov became the latest high-ranking Russian official to die in what has become the country’s biggest loss of military higher-ups since World War II. His death was announced by Ukrainian armed forces on social media Tuesday.
The commander of the 810th Guards Separate Order of Zhukov Brigade in the Russian Marines, Sharov was reportedly killed in Mariupol, a city in which over 100,000 people have been trapped amid a siege by the invading Russians.
At least 902 civilians have been killed and 1,459 wounded in Ukraine as of midnight on March 19, the UN human rights office said.
Ten million people have been displaced, including nearly 3.4 million who have fled the country, the U.N. refugee agency said.
Russian media had reported that they’ve lost almost 10,000 troops of their own since the invasion began but the tabloid paper Komsomolskaya Pravda has since said they were hacked and this was not the case.
Russia has not officially updated its casualty figures since stating on March 2 that 498 servicemen had been killed and 1,597 wounded.
Sharov’s death comes after the death of Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko, Commander of the 45th Engineering Regiment.
Sharov is the fifth colonel to die and marks 15 of Russia’s military commanders to have died in the invasion, according to The Sun. Foreign Policy reported that Moscow has suffered its highest casualty rate among top brass since the WWII.
The news comes as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said some 100,000 are still in the besieged city of Mariupol, trapped ‘in inhumane conditions’ while low on supplies and under constant attack.