A Russian general who was relieved of command in Ukraine died after ‘a long illness,’ official says

Wooden crosses mark graves at the mass grave site in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine, on August 8, 2023

Serhii Korovayny/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

A Russian general has died after a “long illness,” an official said in a Telegram post. 
Colonel General Gennady Zhidko was a senior officer heavily involved in attacking Ukraine. 
But after a series of humiliating defeats last year, Zhidko was removed from his post.

A Russian general who was relieved of command in Ukraine last year died in Moscow after “a long illness,” an official said Wednesday. 

Colonel General Gennady Zhidko, a former deputy defense minister, was leading Russian forces fighting in Ukraine from May 2022 to last autumn.

But in October, Zhidko was removed from his post after Russian troops were forced into a series of humiliating retreats in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, which Ukraine successfully recaptured.

In a Telegram post on Wednesday, Mikhail Degtyarev, the governor of Khabarovsk Krai said that Zhidko was “very attentive to the needs of a simple soldier and very diligent in service,” according to a translation by Newsweek.

“It is these commanders who are called commanders,” Degtyarev added. He did not elaborate on the cause of Zhidko’s death.

The lack of information sparked speculation on social media channels that he may have been poisoned, The Times of London reported.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Zhidko is not the first Russian commander to die since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to Mediazona — a Russian opposition website that tracks military deaths. 

Zhidko was eventually replaced by General Sergei Surovikin, who was then replaced by Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in January this year. 

Last year, he was sanctioned by the West for his role in Moscow’s war effort.

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