- Ukraine said it killed five Russian generals, an unusually high total for senior officers.
- A European diplomat told Foreign Policy that poor communications put commanders at risk.
- Russia suffers a high number of casualties in its invasion of Ukraine.
Russian generals occupy forward positions, exposing them to attack as they struggle to get their orders across to conscripts, European officials told Foreign Policy magazine.
Ukrainian forces have so far killed five Russian generals according to Ukrainian and US officials, aged four weeks. The toll is unusually high for these senior officers.
The most recent was on Saturday, when Ukraine said its forces killed Lt. Gen. Andrei Mordvichev when he hit an airfield near Kherson, one of the few Ukrainian towns Russia has managed to occupy. .
On Sunday, Russian officials said a senior navy commander, Andrey Paly, was killed by Ukrainian forces near the besieged city of Mariupol.
A European diplomat briefed on intelligence reports told Foreign Policy that the failure of Russian communications systems left them vulnerable to interceptions and targeted strikes.
Difficulties in getting conscripted troops to follow orders, the source said, were pushing them to take up positions near the front.
The Russian army is using conscripts alongside its regular army in the invasion of Ukraine, although it has promised that it will not. Experts say conscripted troops are often poorly trained and have low morale.
“They are fighting on the front line to get their orders through,” the EU diplomat said. “They have to go to the front line to make things happen, which puts them at much greater risk than you would normally see.”
The official said around 20% of Russia’s top commanders had been killed in the conflict, reducing its military effectiveness and blocking its advance.
The theory supports a report published Monday by Insider’s Christopher Woody.
The report quotes a US official as saying Russian generals are inherently more at risk than their US counterparts due to a Russian command structure that gives lower-ranking officers less autonomy and demands closer involvement from generals.
US officials estimate around 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the fighting so far. A Russian tabloid citing the country’s defense ministry reported on Monday that the death toll stood at 9,000, but later retracted the claim.