Russia issues no comment over rumours Putin’s top war commander General Valery Gerasimov


  • Gerasimov has not been seen since December 29 at a military award ceremony

Russia has yet to comment on a swirl of unconfirmed rumours that Vladimir Putin‘s top war commander General Valery Gerasimov was killed in a strike on a military command post in Crimea on Thursday.

An explosion and a trail of smoke were visible in a clip of a suspected Storm Shadow strike at the military site in Yukharin Balka. Another target in the village of Uyutnoye, near Yevpatoria was also reportedly hit.

A flow of ambulances was reported by Ukrainian sources at both locations, and Putin-appointed Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said: ‘It was the most massive [attack] in recent times.’

Gerasimov has not been seen since December 29 when footage showed him presenting awards to ‘military personnel who distinguished themselves during the liberation of Marinka’ in occupied Donetsk region, Ukraine.

Ukraine claims to have struck two major Russian military bases in the occupied Crimea, in what Putin-appointed Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev described as 'the biggest attack to date' on Crimea

Ukraine claims to have struck two major Russian military bases in the occupied Crimea, in what Putin-appointed Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev described as ‘the biggest attack to date’ on Crimea

Russia has yet to comment on a swirl of unconfirmed rumours that Vladimir Putin's top war commander General Valery Gerasimov (pictured) was killed in one of the strike

Russia has yet to comment on a swirl of unconfirmed rumours that Vladimir Putin’s top war commander General Valery Gerasimov (pictured) was killed in one of the strike

General Valery Gerasimov with Vladimir Putin

General Valery Gerasimov with Vladimir Putin

Ukrainian outlets have reported the rumours, and air force commander in Kyiv, Lt-Gen Mykola Oleshchuk praised the ‘impeccable combat work’ of his crews.

However, Ukraine has not outwardly made a claim that 68-year-old Gerasimov – who is also Putin’s first deputy minister of defence – was at the command post, or that he was killed.

Nataliya Humenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern defence forces, said: ‘We are collecting the information that you are currently interested in. As soon as it has appropriate confirmation, it will be made public.

‘At the moment, we can only state what is already known – the control point has been hit.’

The rumour of Gerasimov’s death appears to have begun circulating after a Russian Telegram channel called ‘Ordinary Tsarism’ posted an unconfirmed report.

It read: ‘According to preliminary data, Valery Gerasimov, who was in a command post near Sevastopol at the time of the attack, was killed in the attack on Crimea.’

The message then disappeared, with the channel giving no evidence for the claim. 

Putin's senior war commander and head of the Russian armed forces - has not been seen since December 29, when he presented military awards

Putin’s senior war commander and head of the Russian armed forces – has not been seen since December 29, when he presented military awards

The rumour of Gerasimov's death appears to have begun circulating after a Russian Telegram channel called 'Ordinary Tsarism' posted an unconfirmed report

The rumour of Gerasimov’s death appears to have begun circulating after a Russian Telegram channel called ‘Ordinary Tsarism’ posted an unconfirmed report

There is no independent evidence that the general - a foe of slain warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin - was in Crimea, nor that he was hit in the Crimean strike

There is no independent evidence that the general – a foe of slain warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – was in Crimea, nor that he was hit in the Crimean strike

Ukrainian Telegram channel Crimean Wind said: ‘The media write that Valery Gerasimov died during yesterday’s attack in Crimea.

‘He is the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the First Deputy Minister of Defence of Russia.

‘At the moment, the information has not been officially confirmed.’

RBK-Ukraine reported: ‘Information began to spread on the Internet today that the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov was allegedly killed as a result of yesterday’s strikes on Crimea.’

There is no independent evidence that the general – a foe of slain warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – was in Crimea, nor that he was hit in the Crimean strike.

Soon after the strike, Oleshchuk was quoted saying: ‘I once again give thanks to the [Ukrainian] Air Force pilots and everyone who planned the operation for their impeccable combat work.’

He warned Russian propaganda may give misleading accounts of the strikes.

‘I expect the same epic report from enemy propaganda from Sevastopol and Yevpatoria on January 4 [as on earlier denials of Ukrainian strikes],’ he said.



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