A NINTH Russian colonel has been killed in Ukraine as the country’s armed forces say 19,000 of the invaders have now died.
Colonel Alexander Bespalov was given a funeral back in Russia but many soldiers corpses have been left to rot on the battlefield, to the despair of their mourning relatives.
Bespalov was a tank commander and he becomes the latest senior officer Vladimir Putin’s forces have lost in the disastrous invasion.
His death comes after Ukraine announced it had “eliminated” Colonel Denis Kurilo, commander of the 200th motorised rifle brigade, in fierce fighting outside the country’s second city Kharkiv.
Bespalov was commander of the 59th Tank Guards Tank Regiment, Russia’s 74.RU news website reports.
No more details were revealed about the circumstances of his death but pictures show him with a large number of medals.
Throughout the war, video has emerged of large numbers of Russian tanks being obliterated by Ukrainian soldiers using missiles supplied by Britain and other countries.
Earlier this week shocking footage showed bodies of Russian soldiers piled up after they were allegedly ambushed in Sumy, northeastern Ukraine.
Many relatives of dead Russian soldiers have yet to see their bodies returned home.
Vadim Kolodiy’s mum Tatyana has not received the body of the 19-year-old, who died after he was trapped in his armoured personnel carrier.
“No one cares about them. How many of these children, husbands, are there? How much pain had this all brought?”
Bespalov’s death comes after at least seven of Putin’s generals were wiped out in the country.
In comparison, the Soviet Union lost just five generals during ten years of brutal fighting in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
One of the other senior officers killed was mown down was mown down and killed with a tank by his own men after leading them to huge losses on the battlefield.
Western officials say mutinying troops deliberately crushed their Colonel Yuri Medvedev of the 37th Motor Rifle Brigade.
It comes as it comes as a Kremlin spokesman admitted to “significant losses” of troops.
Vladimir Putin’s mouthpiece Dmitry Peskov said the losses were a “huge tragedy” for Russia.
RUSSIA’S SLAIN COMMANDERS
Putin’s top brass killed since the invasion of Ukraine:
Major Dmitry Toptun
Major Alexey Osokin
Major General Vitaly Gerasimov
Major General Andrei Kolesnikov
Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky
Colonel Nikolay Ovcharenko
Colonel Sergei Porokhyna
Colonel Sergei Sukharev
Colonel Andrei Zakharov
Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky
General Magomed Tushaev
Colonel Alexei Sharov
Colonel Yuri Medvedev
Colonel Denis Kurilo
Colonel Alexander Bespalov
As well as tank soldiers, large numbers of elite airborne troops have also been killed.
Haunting video shows the pictures of all 55 soldiers from one elite Russian regiment killed in Ukraine lined up on a table.
The pictures of the dead soldiers from the 247th Guards Airborne Regiment include Colonel Konstantin Zizevsky who was killed in the south of Ukraine.
At the end, a long line of photographs can be seen, testament to slaughter faced by Russia’s forces and in particular its airborne forces in Ukraine.
Reports are now emerging of mutinies among Russian troops, with even paratroopers among those refusing to fight.
According to Ukrainian estimates, 19000 soldiers have now been killed fighting the Russians.
A senior NATO official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told AP that figure could be as high as 40,000 captured, injured or dead Russian troops.
This has prompted Russian elite paratroopers to stage a mutiny after witnessing their comrades being wiped out in battle, reports claim.
Among them are said to be soldiers from the 247th Guards Airborne Regiment.