An intercepted call from Russian officials on Tuesday, March 8, reportedly confirmed the death of a top Russian general, as secure communication modes between Russian officials continue to break down during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Vitaly Gerasimov, the first deputy commander of the 41st Army of Russia, was reportedly killed alongside other Russian troops and officials during the fighting near the city of Kharkiv, making him the second general to have died in Ukraine after Andrei Sukhovetsky’s death last week, the Daily Beast reported.

The call was intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence officials after two Russian Federal Security Service officials communicated with each other using a generic SIM card. They allegedly spoke of the breakdown of Russia’s secure communication lines, according to Business Insider.

“In the phone call in which the FSB officer assigned to the 41st Army reports the death to his boss in Tula, he says they’ve lost all secure communications. Thus the phone call using a local sim card. Thus the intercept,” fact-checking group Bellingcat’s executive director Christo Grozev said.

Gerasimov had previously met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the start of the war in an attempt to strategize their attack on Ukraine. The city of Kharkiv has been the target of massive shelling, and the Ukrainian government has accused the Russians of targeting civilians and evacuation posts.

Many officials inside the Russian army believe that the war on Ukraine has been a complete disaster, as officials repeatedly stated that they were told that the build-up of troops was only a negotiating tactic and not a preparation for the invasion, according to the New York Post.

“Did anyone expect Putin to decide to go to war? Everyone assures me they didn’t,” Russian journalist Farida Rustamova said. “They thought that the president was escalating the situation in order to have more trump cards in negotiations.”

She also stated that Russian army higher-ups have been forced to come closer to the frontlines, causing many of them to be killed as they attempted to exert their influence on the troops of the country.

“That’s an indication of some degree of frustration and some degree of lack of progress, and they’re trying to impose their sort of personality on the battlefield and putting themselves at personal risk,” Rustamova said.

The Russian army invading Ukraine reportedly had a big casualty on Tuesday as Russian general Vitaly Gerasimov was reportedly killed during the conflict in Kharkiv, according to Ukrainian intelligence. This is a representational image. mostafa meraji/Unsplash.

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