Russian Military Leaders Try to Lift Troop Morale As Tenth General Killed

Russian military leaders are reportedly struggling to boost soldiers’ morale after a 10th general was killed this weekend in the ongoing war with Ukraine.

Maj. Gen. Andrei Simonov was killed on Saturday near the city of Izyum in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian authorities. The general was among 100 soldiers that were killed when a barrage of rockets struck armored vehicles and tanks, in what would mark yet another major loss for the Russian army since the nation first invaded Ukraine on February 24, the Kyiv Post reported.

Newsweek was unable to independently verify Simonov’s death. Simonov was a senior commander of electronic warfare, according to the Kyiv Post.

Analysts have said that part of the reason why so many generals have been killed during the war is that leaders have had to go to the frontlines to provide troops with motivation.

Ukrainian tanks
A Ukrainian main battle tank drives on a road near Sviatohirsk, eastern Ukraine, on April 30, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“They need to go to the troops in the front and try and encourage the troops to fight and get killed themselves,” former Estonian military officer Riho Terras said in an interview with Express U.K. “It only shows me that the spirit is not there.”

The Ukrainian government also claimed last month that morale has become so low across parts of the Russian army that some troops are now refusing to fight.

“The moral and psychological condition of the said personnel is low and tends to deteriorate,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement on Facebook.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon official told reporters on Monday that Russian forces are still “suffering from poor command control, low morale in many units,” as well as a “casualty aversion,” according to the Washington Examiner. James Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe also said this week that the amount of killed Russian generals shows that the nation has displayed “amazing incompetence” throughout the war.

“In modern history, there is no situation comparable in terms of the deaths of generals,” Stavridis said during a radio interview on WABC 770 AM. “Just to make a point of comparison here, the United States in all of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq…in all of those years and all of those battles, not a single general lost in actual combat.” He added that he believes the Russian military has an “inability to conduct logistics” and has “bad battle plans.”

Last month, Newsweek compiled a list of several Russian generals who have been killed during the war. The first general killed, Major General Andrey Sukhovetsky, was reportedly struck by sniper fire on February 28.

Since the start of the war, NATO has estimated that Russia has lost between 7,000 and 15,000 soldiers. Ukraine, however, claims to have killed more than 20,000. In all Russia’s military death toll has likely outpaced Ukraine’s, with Ukrainian officials claiming that roughly 3,000 of its troops have been killed, Forbes reported. However, an official death toll from Ukraine has not been independently verified by the U.S.

Newsweek contacted Russia’s foreign ministry for additional comment.