Russia loses its 58th officer of the war with tank commander killed in Donbas region as Putin’s forces continue to suffer heavy casualties
Vladimir Putin has lost yet another high-ranking military officer amid bitter fighting in Ukraine as his forces suffer a series of humiliating setbacks.
Lieutenant Colonel Yegor Meleshenko, 43, was killed in the Donbas region while fighting.
Meleshenko, a tank battalion commander, is the 58th colonel to have been killed since Putin ordered his troops over the border on February 24.
No further details have been given about how Meleshenko died – but his death highlights the appalling losses of high-ranking officers suffered by Russia.
The war, which has now raged for more than four months, has also seen the slaying of at least 11 Russian generals – though the true death toll may be higher given the tendency of Russian authorities to conceal its death tolls.
Analysts say Putin is unmoved by the scale of his losses – now believed to total well over 30,000 – as he presses for a new land grab in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Lieutenant Colonel Yegor Meleshenko, 43, was killed in the Donbas region while fighting
Lieutenant Colonel Yegor Meleshenko, 43, (left, right with his wife Elena) was killed in the Donbas region while fighting
Service members of pro-Russian troops ride an infantry fighting vehicle during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the city of Lysychansk in the Luhansk Region, Ukraine, on Monday
Meleshenko’s funeral was held today in Russia’s Novosibirsk region after his body was returned.
The father, who was awarded a posthumous Order of Courage by Russian commanders, was described as a ‘hero’.
Melenshenko, who was killed ahead of his 44th birthday yesterday, had earlier served with Russian forces in Chechnya.
‘Yegor Meleshenko died defending the residents of Donbas and defending the interests of our motherland,’ said Berdsk mayor Evgeny Shesternin.
‘We express our deep condolences to his wife – Elena, children, relatives and friends of the hero.’
Rescuers work in the wreckages of a destroyed school after it was hit by a rocket in Kharkiv on Monday
His death pushes the number of high-ranking Russian military officers killed in action close to 60, and comes just days after the announcement that Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Kislyakov, a paratrooper, had been killed in Ukraine.
Kislyakov, 40, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, was buried on Thursday with full military honours in his hometown in Moscow region.
Kislyakov served as head of the operational department of the headquarters of the 11th separate airborne assault brigade in Buryatia.
District official Denis Semenov said at the funeral: ‘He died in the line of military duty during the special operation in Ukraine.’
The father of two was described as ‘a true hero and defender of the Motherland’.
Pavel Kislyakov, commander of a prestigious unit of Russian paratroopers, is the 57th colonel to have been killed since Putin ordered his troops over the border on February 24
Kislyakov, 40, was buried with full military honours in his hometown in Moscow region
His death came after it emerged that Col. Andrey Vasilyev, also a paratrooper commander, had been killed.
Vasilyev was struck in one of Ukraine’s first uses of a 43-mile-range HIMARS missile sent to Ukraine by U.S. President Joe Biden.
The colonel had previously been awarded the Russian Order of Courage and led the 137th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division.
Colonel Andrey Vasilyev, 49, was killed in a HIMARS strike in Ukraine. The colonel had previously been awarded the Russian Order of Courage and led the 137th Guards Airborne Regiment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division
Earlier in June, dramatic footage showed the moment Lt-Col Sergey Gundorov, 51, crashed in his helicopter after being hit with a Ukrainian missile.
Gundorov was killed after his Mi-35 was struck near Volnovakha in the Donbas.
His death followed the loss of two colonels announced on the same day in June — highly decorated Colonel Sergei Krasnikov, 56, who had volunteered to rejoin the forces to go to war, and Colonel Sergei Postnov – in his 40s.
Sergey Gundorov, 51 (left and right), has become the 55th Russian colonel killed in Ukraine since February 24. The high-ranking pilot had previously won three orders of courage
In May, Russia admitted that Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Sukhanov, 41, and Colonel Denis Kozlov, 40, died while fighting in Ukraine.
Kozlov was the second commander of the 12th Separate Guards Engineers to die in the conflict, after being sent to Ukraine to replace Colonel Sergei Porokhnya, 45, who was killed on March 14.
In March, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Blinov, 42, was killed but news of his death was strenuously denied by Russian officials.
His death was confirmed in May by a picture on his grave in Volgograd, south-western Russia.
Blinov was a married father of three. A family friend said: ‘For us it is just a shock.’ He served in a motorised rifle unit.
Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Sukhanov, 41 (left), and Colonel Denis Kozlov, 40 (right) have both been confirmed dead today by Russian officials who said they died fighting in Ukraine
Kozlov was sent into the war to replace Colonel Sergei Porokhnya, 45, (pictured) who was killed in Ukraine on 14 March
In March, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Blinov, 42, was killed but news of his death was strenuously denied by Russian officials
Earlier in May, news emerged of Putin’s 39th killed colonel Fezul Bichikaev, 36.
The Lieutenant Colonel was a high-flying elite soldier reportedly killed on a secret intelligence mission.
The father-of-three was portrayed as a hero who was killed near Kharkiv ‘with a machine gun in his hands covering his subordinates’, according to reports in Russia.
Lt-Col Fezul Bichikaev, 36, died in Ukraine on May 2, 2022, becoming the 39th Russian colonel to die in Ukraine
Bichikaev was one of Russia’s youngest colonels, second in command of his regiment, and his death amounted to ‘a heavy, irreparable loss’, said the report.
Bichikaev’s death came a day after the disclosure of the death of Lt-Col Fyodor Solovyov, 44, in the Donbas.
Solovyov was commander of the howitzer self-propelled artillery regiment of the 127th motorised rifle division in Putin’s army.
He was buried with full military honours and a triple volley of guns in Chunaki village, Penza region.
Four days earlier Lt-Col Eduard Dmitriev, 44, a tank commander, was reported to have been killed.