Putin loses two of his most highly-decorated fighter pilots in Ukrainian HIMARS strike

Russian official who attempted to remove Putin from office faces conscription without military experience

Image of Vladimir Putin. Credit: Harold Escalona/shutterstock.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lost two of his most highly decorated fighter pilots in a Ukrainian HIMARS missile strike.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered the loss of two more high-ranking officers in the conflict with Ukraine. Two of Russia’s most highly-decorated fighter pilots have reportedly been wiped out in the same HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) missile strike.

A precision strike on a military motorcade in the Donetsk region – using a US-supplied HIMARS – saw 41-year-old Colonel Anatoly Stasyukevich, and 54-year-old Lt-Col Maksim Potyomin both wiped out, according to express.co.uk. This latest loss brings the total to 82 colonels who have perished since the war began.

The attack which resulted in the two deaths apparently took place on July 8, but only became public later on. Both officers were from the same unit based in Krasnodar Krai, in the North Caucasus region in Southern Russia.

“My son’s car was hit by a HIMARS missile, which we have been hearing so much about lately. His injuries were incompatible with life”, said Alexey Potyomin, Lt-Col Potyomin’s father, confirming his son’s death in the attack. He is the chairman of the Volgograd Regional Parachuting Federation. 

It is thought that Potyomin was subsequently awarded the ‘Order of Courage’ medal posthumously, in a decree by Putin.

The other deceased pilot, Col Stasyukevich, was a third-generation Russian fighter pilot. He was the chief of staff of the mixed aviation division of the 1st Guards Baranovichi Red Banner.

When eight of the highly advanced HIMARS arrived last month in Kyiv they were touted as possibly changing Ukraine’s fortunes in the conflict. It is capable of hitting Russian targets from longer distances, meaning it can be deployed from behind the front lines.

Defence Ministry officials in the Kremlin claimed last Friday, July 22, that “four launchers and one reloading vehicle for the US-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed” between July 5 and 20.

Kyiv of course has vehemently rejected this claim, with an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Serhiy Leshchenko, responding that HIMARS continue to “cause numerous losses to the aggressor state”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com