VLADIMIR Putin has purged his top general over the huge death toll of troops in Ukraine – with Russian losses now estimated at 50,000 men.
Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov, 60, was ditched for the “mass casualties” among the despot’s elite paratroopers, it’s claimed.
Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov has reportedly been axed for the ‘mass casualties’ suffered by Russian troops in UkraineCredit: East2West
Vladimir Putin is said to be micromanaging the war, according to several sourcesCredit: AP
The graves of Putin’s elite airborne troopers in Ulyanovsk, RussiaCredit: East2West
It comes as a Russian source is said to have suggested the country’s overall losses in Ukraine are close to 50,000 – significantly higher than most other estimates.
Unconfirmed Ukrainian reports – cited by Odessa military-civilian spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk – claim Putin axed Serdyukov and replaced him with Colonel-General Mikhail Teplinsky, 53.
Teplinsky is known as the “Butcher of Bucha“, it’s said.
Serdyukov was sanctioned by Britain over his involvement in the mass killing on civilians in the Kyiv town.
If reports are accurate, sources say it indicates Serdyukov “is being held responsible for the poor performance of, and high casualties, among Russian [airborne] units, particularly in early operations around Kyiv”.
Putin has furiously dismissed and “purged” senior Russian officers – which could have “degrade” his attempts to win his bloody war, it’s said.
There has been no indication from Moscow that Serdyukov has been ousted.
The 60-year-old veteran is a ‘Hero of Russia’ – the country’s highest honour – and is seen as one of the country’s best military minds.
Izvestia said he led the operation to annex Crimea from Ukraine in spring 2014.
Russia has kept the number changes Putin has made among commanders during the war, which started on February 24, under wraps.
But several insiders claim the despot is personally micromanaging war decisions and wielding the axe on commanders he sees as underperforming.
Telegram channel General SVR claims the overall Russian death toll is now 37,592.
Meanwhile, 9,457 fighters working for private military companies to support the Russian war effort have died, it’s reported.
And the Russian national guard – which reports directly to Putin – has suffered 1,788 losses, it’s said.
The channel said that these figures had been reported directly to Putin, but provided no evidence of this.
It was not possible to verify this claim.
However, if it is correct, overall military losses have hit 48,837.
Others estimate Putin has lost around 30,000 troops.
The dictator unleashed his “legendary” elite forces into Ukraine in March believing he’d seize the capital within 48 hours.
But Ukraine’s hero defenders crushed the invading forces – forcing a raging Putin to resort to the merciless bombing of civilians.
Taras Kuzio, an Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, says dozens of Russian paratroopers were killed in their doomed bid to take Hostomel airport.
“They (the paratroopers) are sent ahead of the main troops to secure a location so that the main forces can be brought up,” he told Sun Online.
“In this war, they were flown into Hostomel airport near Kyiv to do this but were all killed.
“Two transport aircraft of paratroopers flying from Belarus to do the same tactic at another airport near Kyiv were shot out of the sky. 300 paratroopers were killed in the 2-transport aircraft.”
The swift takedown of Putin’s paratroopers bungled the initial part of Putin’s invasion, said Kuzio.
Serdyukov was allegedly replaced by the ‘Butcher of Bucha’ Colonel-General Mikhail TeplinskyCredit: East2West