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.