Ukrainian military eliminates Russia’s Major General Kutuzov: Who was he?

6 June, 04:05 PM
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Roman Kutuzov was killed in the area of fighting for the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway in Luhansk region (Photo:mil.ru)

Roman Kutuzov was killed in the area of fighting for the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway in Luhansk region (Photo:mil.ru)

The Armed Forces of Ukraine on June 5 eliminated another high-ranking Russian military commander, Major General Roman Kutuzov, in Luhansk Oblast.

His name has been added to the impressive list of Russian army generals who were killed in Ukraine while trying to speed up the execution of orders from their command.

NV are collected the main information known about the elimination of the Russian military commander.

Who was Major General Roman Kutuzov, what did he do in Ukraine, and how was he killed?

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Ukraine Army's Center for Strategic Communications, or Stratcom, confirmed reports about Kutuzov's death in Ukraine late on June 5.

"Exclusive. You're welcome. 'Commander of the 1st Army Corps (orcs) of the 'DPR' ('Donetsk People's Republic'), Major General Roman Kutuzov has been officially denazified and demilitarized," the Ukrainian military said.

A few hours earlier, reports about Kutuzov's death in Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine, where the most intense fighting is now taking place, appeared in Russian public and media outlets.

According to these reports, Kutuzov (nom de guerre "Tuman" ("Fog")) probably died near the village of Mykolaivka in the Popasna district of Luhansk Oblast. This settlement is located not far from the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway, which Russian troops are trying to take control of to cut off part of the Ukrainian military units near Severodonetsk.

On June 5, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Hayday said that Russian commanders had received the task "either to completely capture Severodonetsk by June 10, or to completely cut the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway and take it under control."

"Therefore, a huge amount of forces, everything that the invaders had, all the reserves have been thrown at these two tasks," Hayday said.

Kutuzov was killed in this area. Reporting on his death, propagandists from many pro-Russian Telegram messenger channels and media claim that "the general led people into the attack," as well as trying to give this fact a heroic color.

Although international military analysts and experts have previously been surprised by the fact that high-ranking Russian military leaders have to go to the front line to coordinate routine operations, which is extremely unusual for NATO armies, where such tasks are usually delegated to middle and junior officers. The presence of Russian generals on the front line in Ukraine is most often explained by the problems of the rigid vertical organization of the Russian army.

"When a general appears on the battlefield, this is, first of all, a managerial problem," military observer Denys Popovych earlier told Radio NV.

"This also happens in civilian life: when a top leader begins to manage the lower levels of enterprises, this indicates that either his orders are not being carried out, or the people who have to transmit these orders vertically are out, i.e. they do not work. Or they are not listened to either. That is, the gap between the links, between the highest and the lowest. This explains the appearance of generals at the front."

Back in 2020, the Russian Defense Ministry's website stated that Major General Kutuzov was the chief of staff of the combined arms formation of the Russian army's eastern military district. Its headquarters is located in Khabarovsk. It unites military units stationed in Transbaikalia, Buryatia, and the Far East.

Russian war propagandist Alexander Sladkov, a correspondent for the Vesti newspaper and the state-owned VGTRK broadcasting company, mentioned that Kutuzov was "a native of the Airborne Forces" and served as a regiment commander at the beginning of his military career.

According to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Kutuzov served as acting commander of the 5th Combined Arms Army (CAA) from 2017 to 2019, which is also part of Russia's eastern military district (the headquarters is located in Ussuriysk). After that, he served as chief of staff of the 29th CAA, after which he was appointed "commander of the 1st Army Corps" of the so-called "DPR."

In Russia, during his service, he was awarded the Order of Kutuzov, the Order of Courage, the Order of Honor, the Order of Military Merit, and the Medal of Courage.

Commanding the so-called "DPR units" in Donetsk Oblast, Kutuzov "did not spare the personnel, deliberately sent people to slaughter with an understanding of what the losses would be," said Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbaliuk (from Ukraine's UNIAN information agency), who worked in Russia for many years as the only officially accredited journalist from Ukraine.

"Thanks to his attitude towards military personnel as 'cannon fodder,' the morale and psychological state of the personnel of the formations subordinate to him was extremely low, the commanders of regiments and companies did not want to lead their people into the attack and constantly sabotaged the command's offensive plans," Tsymbaliuk said.

According to the journalist, it was on June 5 that "the apogee of Kutuzov's command took place, which had deadlines for capturing one of the settlements in Donetsk Oblast."

The journalist said that the Russian major general had been ordered to complete the task by the end of the day, no matter what.

"In this regard, he ordered the commanders of the 1st and 100th separate motorized rifle brigades to personally lead troops to storm the Ukrainian positions, but they refused to comply with the order, as they understood the risk to their lives," Tsymbaliuk said.

"Realizing what consequences he will face in case of failure to fulfill the task set by the high command, Major General Kutuzov decided to personally lead the offensive and was eliminated by artillery fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

What does the death of another Russian general on the front line in Ukraine mean?

According to ISW analysts, Kutuzov’s death has not yet been confirmed but would be at least the seventh death of a general in Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

On May 4, U.S.-based newspaper The New York Times reported that "Ukrainian officials said they have killed approximately 12 generals on the front lines, a number that has astonished military analysts."

Russian propagandists are reluctant to admit losses: Sladkov calls Kutuzov only the fourth military leader of this level who died.

However, military analysts emphasize the continuation of the trend, which is detrimental to the Russian army.

"High-level Russian commanders have taken remarkably high losses during combat in Ukraine, and will likely continue to do so as the Russian command continues to deploy military leadership directly to the frontline," ISW experts said.

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