Western officials have said they believe a Russian commander was run over by mutinous forces during the fighting in Ukraine, in a sign of what they described as the “morale challenges” faced by the invading forces.
They highlighted – and repeated – reports from earlier this week from a Ukrainian journalist that a colonel of the 37th separate guards motor rifle brigade was run over by a tank. Some reports said he had died of his injuries.
One official said they believed that the brigade commander was “killed by his own troops” as “a consequence of the scale of losses that had been taken by his brigade” in the bitter fighting.
However, while there was some evidence to corroborate the claim that the commander had been run over, it was less clear whether, as the western officials claimed, the colonel had died.
On Friday night, they partially retracted the claim in the light of conflicting evidence on social media. They said they were seeking to clarify whether he was alive or dead – and said that the key point was that he was a victim of a mutiny, not whether he had been killed or not.