‘Idiots!’ Russians disclose General’s death as secret messages given up by OWN army

Ukraine: Russian troops can be heard 'complaining about invasion'

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It was reported yesterday (Monday) that Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, chief of staff of the 41st Russian Army, had been killed outside Kharkiv. Ukraine’s defence ministry broadcast the news along with what it said was a conversation between two Russian FSB officers concerning the death.

Christo Grozev, executive director of investigative unit Bellingcat, said that the death had been confirmed by a Russian source.

Maj Gen Gerasimov is the second high-ranking officer to be killed in a week, following Maj Gen Andrei Sukhovetsky, commanding general of the 7th Airborne Division.

It comes amid reports that the Russian military offensive on Ukraine is in disarray, with poor organisation and communication leading to a splintering of Russian advances.

Ukrainian armed forces have so far been able to stop Russian forces entering several key cities, and have retaken the region of Mykolayiv.

Ukraine said Russian forces are “demoralised and increasingly tend to looting and violations of international humanitarian law”.

The humiliating death was revealed to Ukrainian intelligence services in a phone conversation in which an FSB officer assigned to the 41st Army reported the loss to his superior in Russia.

According to Mr Grozev, in the conversation, the officer says that they have lost “all secure communications”, and was having to use a local sim card.

He then asks to use the Era secure communications system – which was established in 2021 by Putin and was reportedly guaranteed to work “in all conditions”.

The senior officer, who Bellingcat identified as Dmitry Shevchenko in the Russian city of Tula, then reportedly says that the system is not working.

Mr Grozev added: “The idiots tried to use the Era cryptophones in Kharkiv, after destroying many 3G cell towers and also replacing others with stingrays.

“Era needs 3G/4G to communicate.

“The Russian army is equipped with secure phones that can’t work in areas where the Russian army operates.”

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A stingray is a cellular communication interceptor used by police forces and intelligence services worldwide to monitor mobile phone conversations.

Maj Gen Gerasimov was a highly decorated officer, and had served during the second Chechen war and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Recent insights from within the Russian intelligence service have shed light on the dire sense of disorganisation the authorities were suffering.

Last week, a supposed Russian security services whistleblower wrote that the operation had been an organisational “clusterf***” since the start.

The FSB source – whose account was confirmed to Mr Grozev by other intelligence sources – added: “The Blitzkrieg failed. It’s entirely impossible to complete the job at this point.”

They claimed that the service’s management had pushed for reports and analyses to be rushed, and were pushing for reports to be written “in a tone that implies victory”.

Meanwhile, dissent appears to be growing among Russians, with thousands taking to the streets across the country in protest of the invasion.

Yesterday, police detained another 5,020 in demonstrations, according to an independent monitoring group.

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