Mystery as Ukraine ‘seriously injures significant Russian figure’ in secret raid as Putin General death rumours swirl

Mystery as Ukraine ‘seriously injures significant Russian figure’ in secret raid as Putin General death rumours swirl

UKRAINE has seriously injured a high-profile Russian figure as part of a special forces mission into Putin’s territory.

Vlad apparently suffered heavy losses in Belgorod as Zelesnkyy‘s forces bombarded the city with fire, Ukraine‘s intelligence chief has claimed.

Ukraine’s special forces carrying out the secret raid

A Russian missile attack in Kyiv on January 2nd, as the war rages on

Putin’s top war commander General Valery Gerasimov

Intelligence boss Kyrylo Budanov said: “Not disclosing details, I can say that one of the very seriously wounded [in Russia’s Belgorod region] was quite a significant personality.

“They immediately requested a helicopter to evacuate him directly to Moscow.”

He did not confirm the specific identity of the wounded Russian.

However, after a reported barrage of Ukrainian shelling in recent days, Russia evacuated hundreds of residents from Belgorod city.

This came as another embarrassing blow for Putin, making him appear unable to properly defend a key regional centre, say reports.

Budanov also said he could not corroborate earlier extraordinary social media claims that a recent missile strike on Sevastopol – in Crimea – had killed Putin’s war commander General Valery Gerasimov, 68.

Ukraine hit a command post and believes high-ranking figures were  hit – but there is no evidence they included Gerasimov, who is also first deputy defence minister.

Asked about the reports on the top Kremlin crony being killed, the 38-year-old intelligence chief said:  “Let’s just say that I have no information to support this.”

Russia has not commented on the Gerasimov claims which spread widely on Friday.

Dozens of Russian generals have been killed during Putin’s appalling invasion of Ukraine, and Zelenskyy’s forces did allegedly try to take out the top general in 2022.

Many of the generals, according to the US officials, have been made somewhat easy targets as Putin sends them to the frontline to boost morale and shore up defences.

In April 2022 Gerasimov, 66, allegedly made secret plans to go to the frontline.

According to the New York Times, American officials warned Ukraine at the time that killing Gerasimov could sharply escalate the conflict.

“We told them not to do it,” a senior American official told the New York Times.

“We were like, ‘Hey, that’s too much’.”

But Ukrainian military officials told the US they had already launched their strike on the general.

Dozens of Russians died in the attack – but General Gerasimov wasn’t one of them.

Now Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for a unit of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, said of the Sevastopol strike: “There are many versions of who could have been hit there.

“I even heard the famous surname Gerasimov.

“This would be good news, but I think that it is unlikely to be the reality.

“But the fact that several high-ranking officers or generals of the Russian occupation army were hit in this command post is real.”

The Saki airfield, also in Crimea, is seen damaged from this weeks strikes.

Reports said ambulances were seen rushing to both the Sevastopol site and the Saki airfield after the hits which are suspected to have been Storm Shadow missiles, supplied by Britain.

Ukrainian Air Force Commander General Mykola Oleshchuk said:
“All targets have been destroyed….I again thank our pilots for great work.”

He previously praised the “impeccable combat work” of his air crews in striking the Sevastopol command post at Yukharin Balka where the rumours had suggested Gerasimov was a victim.

Putin-appointed Sevastopol governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said: “It was the most massive [attack] in recent times.”

Budanov said of the previously unknown raid across the border into Belgorod region: “We are in an open war, and there’s no reason to be surprised.

“Those who wage war on others sooner or later face it themselves.

“Ultimately, that’s what’s happening.”

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.”

Yet there is no independent evidence that the general – an enemy of slain warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – was in Crimea, or that he was hit in the Crimean strike.

It comes just days after Ukraine claimed they set the Russian Su-34 warplane on fire 1,400miles inside enemy territory, leaving it a burning wreck in an airfield.

Footage show the savvy tactical bomber at Shagol airfield in Chelyabinsk looking worse for wear as it sat burning out in the snow.

Reports say the plane was attacked in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk and that the operation was carried out by pro-Kyiv saboteurs. 

The clever culprits appeared to have sneaked behind enemy lines and onto the airfield to set the jet on fire.

Footage shows troops trekking through woodland

East2west NewsBrit Storm Shadow missiles used by Ukraine in Sevastopol this week[/caption]

Ukraine claimed to have destroyed a Russian Su-34 warplane

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