By Snejana Farberov
A high-ranking Russian general has been killed in a Storm Shadow missile strike in an occupied Ukrainian city, according to reports from both countries.
Lt. Gen. Oleg Tsokov died Monday when a barrage of cruise missiles obliterated the Dune Hotel in Berdiansk in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, where Russian military commanders had been quartered.
“It is reported that today in the Berdiansk area, the Russian Lieutenant General Oleg Yuriyovych Tsokov was liquidated,” Petro Andriushchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian mayor of Mariupol, gleefully wrote in his Telegram channel.
Andriushchenko noted that in September 2022, Tsokov, then commander of Russia’s 144th Motorized Rifle Division, had been gravely wounded in action but survived.
“Now they say that his mobilization into the grave has been completed,” the mayor’s adviser darkly joked.
Yurii Mysyagin, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, also seemed to celebrate the general’s violent demise.
Although Russia’s Defense Ministry has not officially confirmed the military leader’s death, Andrey Gurulev, a member of the State Duma — Russia’s legislative assembly — corroborated multiple media reports from both Ukrainian outlets and pro-Moscow military bloggers.
“Yes,” Gurulev said during Tuesday’s broadcast of the talk show “60 Minutes” on the state-controlled channel Rossiya-1. “Unfortunately, [Tsokov] heroically died. That man deserves enormous respect; he has insane authority in the armed forces, and that’s true.”
Gurulev added that in the aftermath of his near-fatal combat injury in the occupied Luhansk region last year, Tsokov had the opportunity to be medically discharged from the military, but he said the general decided to head back to the front lines “to fight.”
Tsokov, who was elevated to the rank of lieutenant general earlier this year, was previously sanctioned by the EU, the UK and New Zealand for his participation in the Ukraine war.
Russian state media outlets reported that Tsokov was a highly decorated veteran of two Chechen wars and a military campaign in Syria.
More than 20 Russian generals have been killed in Ukraine since the outbreak of the war, according to data from Japanese intelligence services.
Retired Gen. Kiyofumi Iwata, former chief of staff of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, in February was quoted by the newspaper Nikkei as calling the death toll “unbelievably high.”