Senior FSB commander becomes latest Russian colonel to die in Ukraine

Killed: Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolay Gorban, 36, an FSB commander, was killed ‘somewhere in Ukraine’ on August 2

A senior FSB commander has become the latest Russian colonel to be killed in Ukraine, amid reports Vladimir Putin has sacked six generals over poor performance. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Nikolay Gorban, 36, led elite Spetsnaz special forces troops into battle was was killed ‘somewhere in Ukraine on August 2’, local media has reported.

Meanwhile, British intelligence says Putin has fired six of his generals over failings which has seen his invasion stall and military suffer astonishing casualties. 

General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko and General-Colonel Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who commanded Russia’s Eastern and Western Military Districts respectively, are ‘highly likely’ to have lost their posts, the MoD said on Sunday.

Zhuravlev has been replaced by General-Lieutenant Vladimir Kochetkov.

General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov, known as the ‘Butcher of Syria’ who was appointed commander of the whole Ukraine invasion back in April as the battle of Donbas got underway, has also been removed, the MoD thinks.

General Gennady Valeryevich Zhidko, who was in charge of the Southern Grouping of Forces, is another to have been given the sack.

He has been replaced by General Sergei Surovikin, the MoD believes.

Sacked: General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov (right, with Putin left) has been fired as overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine for 'poor performance', Britain believes

Sacked: General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov (right, with Putin left) has been fired as overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine for 'poor performance', Britain believes

Sacked: General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov (right, with Putin left) has been fired as overall commander of Russian forces in Ukraine for ‘poor performance’, Britain believes

Col. General Alexander Alexandrovich Zhuravlyov

Col. General Alexander Alexandrovich Zhuravlyov

Vladimir Kochetkov

Vladimir Kochetkov

Sacked: Colonel-General Alexander Zhuravlyov (left) has been fired as commander of Western Military District and replaced with General-Lieutenant Vladimir Kochetkov (right)

‘The poor performance of Russia’s armed forces during its invasion of Ukraine has been costly for Russia’s military leadership, highly likely resulting in the dismissal of at least six Russia commanders since the start of hostilities,’ it said.

‘These dismissals are compounded by at least 10 Russian generals killed on the battlefield in Ukraine.

‘The cumulative effect on consistency of command is likely contributing to Russian tactical and operational difficulties.’

Ukrainian media say Gorban is the latest senior Russian commander to die on the battlefield – believed to be the most-senior officer the FSB has lost in the war so-far.

An official online citation mourning his loss said he ‘participated in the conduct of combat activities and special operations both in Russia and abroad.

‘In the course of carrying out combat missions, he proved himself to be a courageous and decisive officer. He was proud of his service in the Russian FSB.’

In another blow to the Kremlin, Colonel Vasily Kleshchenko, an army aviation commander, was also listed as killed.

Sacked: General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko, former commander of the Eastern Military District, has been fired from his position, Britain believes

Sacked: General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko, former commander of the Eastern Military District, has been fired from his position, Britain believes

Sacked: General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko, former commander of the Eastern Military District, has been fired from his position, Britain believes

General Gennady Valeryevich Zhidko

General Gennady Valeryevich Zhidko

Colonel General Sergei Surovikin

Colonel General Sergei Surovikin

Sacked: General Gennady Valeryevich Zhidko (left), former leader of the Southern Grouping of Forces, has been replaced by Colonel General Sergei Surovikin (right)

He was deputy head of the 344th combat use and retraining centre for elite helicopter pilots and snipers.

Before the war he ran the world’s only aerobatic team based on Berkut combat helicopters based in Russia’s Tver region.

He was the 98th known colonel or lieutenant colonel to die.

The latest deaths show how Putin’s war is haemorrhaging commanders in his armed forces and security services.

Russia has also seen a dozen generals slain in the war.

Last week Kremlin forces lost Olga ‘Korsa’ Kachura [correct], 52, Putin’s first woman colonel to die in the Ukraine war.

She was a colonel in the forces of Russian puppet state Donetsk People’s Republic, where she commanded a rocket artillery division deployed against Ukraine.

Putin posthumously awarded her the Hero of Russia honour ‘for courage and heroism shown in the performance of military duty’.

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