Russian president Vladimir Putin is known to have an explosive temper and thin skin. Few would likely want to be the bearer of bad news these days, especially given how Putin’s war in Ukraine is going. Still, someone likely drew the "short straw" and had to deliver the news that the Ukrainian military destroyed a Russian armored column and killed the unit's commander outside of Kyiv.
According to a Ukrainian Ministry of Defense statement released on Thursday, "the commander of the occupier's regiment, Colonel Zakharov, was liquidated. During the battle in the Brovary district of Kyiv region, the battalion tactical group (BTGr) of the 6th tank regiment (Chebarkul) of the 90th tank division of the Central Command suffered significant losses of personnel and equipment."
Video footage of the attack, which Bellingcat says was located in the eastern Kyiv suburb of Brovary, shows that around twenty armored vehicles came under heavy fire and subsequently retreated.
Multiple media outlets, including CNN, have verified the video’s authenticity, which appears to show several destroyed vehicles, including a T-72 main battle tank and a BTR-82 armored personnel carrier. The video was widely shared on social media and received one million views by Thursday morning.
"Very poor tactics displayed by this Russian armored force so close to Kyiv. They're well within range of Ukrainian artillery in Kyiv, they're on an obvious avenue of approach, and they still decided to bunch up like this, leaving them more vulnerable to indirect fire," tweeted Rob Lee, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. The strike on the Russian armored column came days after the column met logistical failures, which forced the crews to sleep in freezing temperatures.
Eastern European media outlet Nextra TV reported on social media that Col. Andrei Zakharov, commander of the Russian tank regiment, had personally received the Order of Courage from Putin in 2016. He is now just the latest high-ranking—and high profile—officer to be killed by Ukrainian forces.
Last week, reports indicated that Ukrainians had killed Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov, First Deputy Commander of the 41st Army, in fighting near Kharkiv. Newsweek reported that the decorated military veteran had taken part in the second Chechen war, Russia's military operation in Syria, and the 2014 annexation of Crimea. He was the second Russian general from the 41st Army to die within a week of the conflict.
Just days prior, the death of Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army, had been confirmed by Russian media and even Putin. Sukhovetsky, a highly decorated combat veteran, was killed by a sniper near Mariupol on February 28.
Moscow has further confirmed that Lt. Col. Dmitry Safronov, Commander of the 61st Separate Marine Brigade, was killed in Chuhuiv. Additionally, Lt. Col. Denis Glebov, Deputy Commander of the 11th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade, was also killed in the fighting.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.