Ruslan Shirin Named as Fourth Russian Commander Killed in 4 Days

Vladimir Putin's forces have been dealt a further blow after another top Russian military figure was killed in Ukraine, according to Kyiv.

Col. Ruslan Shirin, who was chief of staff for the Baltic Fleet's 336th Naval Infantry Brigade was killed in action, according to Ukrainian armed forces officer Anatoliy Stefan and other social media posts.

Stefan tweeted that Shirin "has been officially denazified and demilitarized," without specifying where or how he died. The news was also tweeted by military analyst Rob Lee.

A post on a VKontakte page for the Russian Navy said Shirin had "heroically died" while performing his "duty during the special military operation of Russia's armed forces." Shirin had been posthumously awarded the Order of Courage, a state honor instigated by presidential decree in 1994.

The report of his death has not been confirmed by Russia's Defense Ministry, which did not return Newsweek's request for comment before publication.

If verified, it would add to a growing toll of senior officers that Russia's forces have lost since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

According to one online tally, four Russian officers ranked lieutenant colonel or higher have been reported killed in the four days between June 4 and 8.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Lt. Col. Vladimir Nigmatullin, 46, an artillery commander from the city of Yekaterinburg, had been killed on May 31, although there were no details on the circumstances of his death.

Also this week, it was revealed that Maj. Gen. Roman Kutuzov and Lt. Gen. Roman Berdnikov, were reportedly killed by Ukrainian artillery in the Donbas region in the east of the country, where most of the fighting is concentrated.

Kutuzov, who commanded Russia's 5th Combined Arms Army, was said to have been killed leading an assault on a Ukrainian settlement in the Donbas. Berdnikov's death, meanwhile, was reported by news outlet Volya Media.

There are no definitive statistics on the death toll of Russian soldiers or officers, which Moscow seldom officially acknowledges. Russian state television reporter Alexander Sladkov said Kutuzov was the fourth general to have been killed in Ukraine. The Kremlin has confirmed just three, while some Western media sources put the number as high as 12, based on different classifications of Russia's uniformed officers.

Adding to the uncertainty over just how many high-ranking Russian military figures have actually been killed, three generals Ukrainian forces claimed to have killed were later reported alive, according to the BBC.

Analysts say Russian commanders have been pushed to the front to help drive the invasion. The New York Times reported last month that the U.S. had provided intelligence to Ukraine to target a number of the generals who were later 2killed.

Moscow has not updated its official casualty figures in Ukraine since March 25, when it said 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed. Ukraine's armed forces say nearly 31,000 Russian servicemen have died.

Ukrainian troop members in Donbas
Ukrainian troops repair an army main battle tank in the Donbas region in eastern Ukrainian on June 7, 2022. Ukraine says another top Russian officer, named as Russian Navy Col. Ruslan Shirin, has been killed. ARIS MESSINIS/Getty Images