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Two senior Russian military and intelligence officials have been killed, adding to Vladimir Putin’s misery as Ukrainian forces penetrate deeper into the eastern Donbas region to liberate more occupied territory.
The first, Aleksei Nagin, was a highly respected commander of the infamous PMC Wagner Group — a private army led by close Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin — who played a key role in supporting the Russian invasion.
Nagin, who received an Order of Courage three times, was killed on September 20 as Ukrainian forces pushed further into Donetsk, repelling Russian troops.
Meanwhile, in the southern region of Kherson, Colonel Aleksei Katerinichev – a career FSB secret service officer and deputy head of the Russian occupying forces in Kherson – was hit in a “precise” attack by a HIMARS missile today, according to a report. from a Russian news agency.
Katerinichev was a veteran of more than 20 counter-terrorism operations and a key architect of Russian operations in southern Ukraine.
The deaths of such esteemed servicemen, just 10 days apart, underscore the fragility of Putin’s “military operation,” even as the belligerent Russian president today signed agreements formally incorporating the Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions into the Russian Federation. .
Zaporizhia and Kherson are only partially controlled by Russia, while Putin’s forces in the main city of Lyman in northern Donetsk have been almost completely surrounded by Ukrainian forces in the latest counteroffensive.
Aleksei Nagin (L) was a highly respected commander of the infamous PMC Wagner Group – a private army led by close Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin. Aleksei Katerinichev (R) was a career officer of the FSB secret service and deputy head of the Russian occupying forces in Kherson
Nagin was a distinguished soldier, who had seen battles with the Russian army in Chechnya and Georgia before signing a contract with PMC Wagner as a mercenary
A junkyard of destroyed army vehicles near Izyum, Kharkiv region, Ukraine, September 29, 2022
(LR) Moscow-appointed heads of Kherson region Vladimir Saldo and Zaporizhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin and Lugansk separatist leader Leonid Pasechnik react after signing of the treaties formally annexing four regions of Ukraine
Nagin’s death is a major blow to PMC Wagner, who posthumously awarded the veteran combatant their Platinum Star award.
Nagin was a distinguished soldier who had seen battles with the Russian military in Chechnya and Georgia before signing a contract with PMC Wagner as a mercenary and serving in both Syria and Libya.
He was also posthumously awarded the title Hero of Russia and was designated the hero of both the so-called Luhansk People’s Republics and Donetsk (LPR and DPR).
Katerinichev, meanwhile, held the post of First Deputy Chairman of the Moscow-installed Kherson Civilian Military Administration, which effectively made him the second commander of the partially occupied region.
Russia completed its plan to formally annex large swaths of Ukrainian territory today, when Putin signed an official decree recognizing the inclusion of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson into the Russian Federation.
The president was celebrating in Moscow today after signing the papers alongside the pro-Russian heads of every partially-controlled territory where mock referendums were held in a pathetic attempt to legitimize the annexation.
But the apparently jubilant scene in the Russian capital belies the desperate situation facing many of Putin’s forces tasked with holding the newly annexed territories.
Several Russian units are currently trapped in the town of Lyman in northern Donetsk, with Ukrainian troops encircling their positions and only a narrow spit of land allowing them to retreat deeper into Donetsk.
The Moscow soldier spent weeks and suffered significant losses during their attempt to take Lyman back in the spring.
DPR leader Denis Pushilin confirmed this morning that several settlements near Lyman had been attacked by Ukrainian forces hours before he met Putin for annexation celebrations.
DPR leader Denis Pushilin (2-R) confirmed this morning that several settlements near Lyman had been attacked by Ukrainian forces hours before he met Putin (C) for annexation celebrations (pictured)
A Ukrainian soldier looks out from a tank, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in the frontline city of Lyman, Donetsk region (file photo)
‘Friends, the news about’ [Lyman] is disturbing. The [Ukrainian military] is doing its best to somehow overshadow a historic event for us, Pushilin said.
“Svatovo is under our control, but is regularly under attack. Yampol and Drobyshevo are not fully controlled by us.
“Our boys are fighting, we are drawing up reserves, we have to hold out, but the enemy has also committed serious violence. Very unpleasant news, but we must look at the situation soberly and draw conclusions from our mistakes. We can handle anything!’
Pro-Russian telegram station Rybar said “the cauldron” around Lyman has almost completely shut down.
“If emergency measures are not taken in the near future to unblock Liman and transfer a significant portion of its reserves, the city, along with its defenders, will fall,” Rybar wrote, while the pro-democracy’s military correspondent said. Kremlin newspaper ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda Alexander Kots said the situation was ‘critical’.