Russia has reportedly lost its fortieth high-ranking military officer since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Lieutenant Colonel Denis Mezhuev was killed on the frontline.
Mezhuev commanded the Sevastopol Red Banner regiment under the 1st guards motor rifle division, which moved from Kyiv to the battle-scarred east in recent days.
A social media post by a junior Russian politician read: ‘Denis Mezhuev died in battle. His son can be proud of his dad.’
Pro-Putin poet Andrey Kovalev called on the Kremlin to award Lt Col Mezhuev the nation’s top honour posthumously. He said: ‘For his deed he is worthy of the title of Hero of Russia.’
The overall Russian losses since the war began on 24 February are believed to be in the region of 20,000 but Moscow has failed to give accurate figures.
Other recent high-ranking officers killed include Lt Gen Yakov Rezantsev, commander of Russia’s 49th combined army, who was killed in a strike near the southern city of Kherson on March 25.
The pro-Kremlin Wargonzo Telegram channel reported that Ukrainian marines from the 36th brigade of the Ukrainian armed forces cooperated in an operation ‘to evacuate the body of our high-ranking officer from the Illich factory in Mariupol’ without naming the general but giving his rank.
They wrote: ‘After yesterday’s operation to eliminate a neo-Nazi breakthrough from the Illich plant, the surrendered Ukrainian marines not only shared information about where the general’s body was, but also volunteered to participate in the DNR People’s Militia’s operation to evacuate it.
‘Namely, they acted as guides and showed a safe route,’ said the outlet.
‘For a long time the neo-Nazis refused to hand over his body or report his whereabouts. Instead, Azov fighters posted a video of mocking the corpse.’