NEWS: UKRAINE IN WAR
General Gerasimov, deputy commander of the Russian 41st Army, has reportedly died.

A senior Russ­ian mil­i­tary com­man­der has been killed in a bat­tle on the out­skirts of the east­ern Ukrain­ian city of Kharkiv, the Ukrain­ian Defense Min­istry announced.

Major Gen­er­al Vitaly Gerasi­mov, chief of staff of the 41st Army, died along with oth­er Russ­ian offi­cers, the report said.

Rus­sia has not com­ment­ed, but if con­firmed, he would be their sec­ond offi­cer of that rank to be killed.

This comes after Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian offi­cials agreed to estab­lish human­i­tar­i­an corridors.

More than 150 peo­ple have been evac­u­at­ed and activ­i­ties are under­way [from Irpin],” Kiev region gov­er­nor Olek­siy Kule­ba was quot­ed by Reuters as saying.

The gov­er­nor of the Soumy region, Dmytro Zhyvyt­sky, quot­ed by Reuters, said bus­es car­ry­ing evac­uees had left the city for Polta­va, fur­ther south.

The cor­ri­dors are expect­ed to remain open until 9pm, but so far there has been no con­fir­ma­tion of evac­u­a­tions from oth­er cities.

Ukrain­ian cities have con­tin­ued to be heav­i­ly shelled by Russ­ian forces and many civil­ians have so far been pre­vent­ed from flee­ing after pre­vi­ous evac­u­a­tion attempts failed.

Ukraine has called Rus­si­a’s evac­u­a­tion plans, many of which involve send­ing flee­ing res­i­dents to Rus­sia, cynical.

In Soumy, author­i­ties said chil­dren were among the 10 peo­ple killed in artillery strikes Mon­day night.

The Ukrain­ian Defense Min­istry state­ment said Major Gen­er­al Gerasi­mov was a vet­er­an of the sec­ond Chechen war in 1999–2000, the Russ­ian mil­i­tary cam­paign in Syr­ia and the annex­a­tion of Crimea in 2014.

It is based on an alleged inter­cept of exple­tive phone con­ver­sa­tions between Russ­ian secu­ri­ty offi­cials that has not been verified.

In the first con­ver­sa­tion, the offi­cials com­plain that secure com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines have been lost and describe the sit­u­a­tion as “very tense.”

In the sec­ond, anoth­er offi­cial men­tions that Major Gen­er­al Gerasi­mov has been killed and gives sev­er­al oth­er names of the injured.

The audio was orig­i­nal­ly released with the Ukrain­ian Defense Min­istry’s state­ment, but has since been removed, although it was post­ed on YouTube.

A for­mer aide to Ukraine’s defense min­is­ter, Andriy Ryzhenko, told the BBC’s News­day pro­gram that it was not nor­mal prac­tice for high-rank­ing Russ­ian offi­cers to hold com­mand posi­tions, and his death showed how intense the war was.

The report­ed death comes a week after the death of Andrey Sukhovet­sky, anoth­er deputy com­man­der in the same army, was con­firmed by Russ­ian media.

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