The number of Russian generals killed during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine suggests that the poor performance of the Russian military requires that high-ranking officers put themselves at risk in an effort to achieve military objectives. The highest Russian rank killed in the war so far has been a lieutenant general (two star) equivalent in rank to Major General in the United States military; after that, major generals (one star), equivalent in rank to brigadier general in the United States military. Analysts believe that Ukrainian armed forces are deliberately targeting high-ranking officials. A staffer in the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Wall Street Journal that a unit of Ukrainian military intelligence sought out information on upper-level Russian officers, such as generals, artillery commanders, and pilots.
The Russian military is top-heavy, with generals playing a larger role in day-to-day operations than in other militaries, with Russian battalion commanders being given more authority only three years before the 2022 invasion. According to both analysts and Western officials, Russia deployed approximately 20 general officers to Ukraine, of whom five have been killed. Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, described the number of Russian generals killed as "a shocking number." David Petraeus remarked that it is "very very uncommon" for so many generals to be killed and that the Ukrainian military was "picking them off left and right."
The deaths of Russian officers on the front line has been attributed to a number of Russian vulnerabilities in Ukraine, including the use of unsecured communications and the movement of officers to the front line to boost flagging morale as well as address discipline issues such as looting. The use of unsecured phones has been attributed to the failure of Russia's secure telephone technology system, Era. In mid-March 2022, two U.S. military officials told the New York Times that Russian generals in Ukraine frequently had conversations on unsecured phones and radios, and that in at least one instance, a general and his staff were killed after the Ukrainians intercepted a call, geolocated it, and attacked the location.
Presented in chronological order based on reporting.
|Andrey Sukhovetsky||Major General||1–3 March 2022||Deputy commander, 41st Combined Arms Army. Had previously been involved in the Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. Russian media and officials reported his death on 3 March 2022.|
|Vitaly Gerasimov||Major General||8 March 2022||Chief of staff of the 41st Combined Arms Army. Allegedly killed outside Kharkiv. Had previously been involved in the Second Chechen War, Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, and 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. CNN said it has not independently verified Gerasimov's death and US officials have not confirmed it.|
|Andrei Kolesnikov||Major General||11 March 2022||Commander of the 29th Combined Arms Army.|
|Oleg Mityaev||Major General||15 March 2022||Commander of the Russian Army's 150th Motorized Rifle Division. Killed somewhere near Mariupol.|
|Andrey Mordvichev||Lieutenant General||18 March 2022||Commander of Russia's 8th Guards Combined Arms Army. Killed in a Ukrainian artillery strike on the Chornobaivka airfield in the Kherson Raion according to "preliminary information" from the Ukrainian authorities.|
|Magomed Tushayev||Major General||26 February 2022||Chechen units of the National Guard of Russia; death claim made by Ukrainian military and Daily Mail. This is disputed by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who posted a video said to show Tushayev alive and Chechnya media which posted video said to be Tushayev denying his death on 16 March 2022.|
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