New blow for Putin after two Russian elite commanders die within days of one another

Colonel Andrei Kondrashkin, 44, was commander of the 31st Separate Guards Airborne Assault Brigade, an airborne infantry formation.

Kondrashkin died during battles against advancing Ukrainian forces by Andriivka, a war-gutted village south of Bakhmut reclaimed by Kyiv last week.

His death was first reported yesterday by Alexander Khodakovsky, deputy head of Rosgvardiya, Russia’s national guard, in annexed Donetsk.

‘Today we were deeply hurt by the news of his death. We offer our condolences to his family, friends and comrades,’ Khodakovsky wrote on Telegram.

Khodakovsky said he and the colonel ‘became friends’ as they fought ‘hand in hand’ during the months-long siege of Mariupol last year.

‘I am sure that the wings of his airborne soul will quickly take him to the Throne of God,’ Khodakovsky added, ‘where he will sit and wait for us.’

Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov added on Telegram that Kondrashkin’s unit, which took part in ‘all the major battles of the war’, had been tasked with preventing a Russian rifle brigade from being captured by Ukrainian soldiers.

‘However, Kondrashkin was unable to complete the task; a number of strong points of the 31st Airborne Assault Brigade were completely destroyed, and Ukrainian attack aircraft broke into the village through Kondrashkin’s defence sector,’ Butusov said.

‘The circumstances of how exactly Kondrashkin was destroyed during these battles are not yet known. 

‘But the liquidation of the commander of one of the Russian strike formations is a serious achievement.’

Kondrashkin’s name is the latest on a growing list of Russia’s top military brass who have been fired, died or who have disappeared altogether since the war.

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Source of data and images: metro

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