Who Controls the Sky Controls the Ground

Putin loses ANOTHER colonel in Ukraine: Close ally of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov is latest to be killed as death toll among high ranks hits 49

Lieutenant-colonel Zaur Dimayev killed Tuesday by shell in Luhansk, it is claimed

Dimayev was the deputy commander of a Chechen special forces battalion

Pictures show him posing alongside feared Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov

It brings the total number of Russian colonels killed fighting to at least 49

Chechen special forces - known colloquially as Kadyrovites after their leader - have increasingly been dragged into combat in Ukraine after Russia’s military was mauled failing to take Kyiv.

High-ranking commanders have also been dragged into the bloodshed, thought to be because poor organisation has forced them to the front to oversee the fighting.

Just last week, Russia confirmed that Lieutenant colonel Alexander Dosyagayev, 34, believed to be one of the country’s top paratroopers, had been killed.

Though the exact number of Russian forces killed in the fighting is unclear - perhaps even to Putin’s commanders - Western intelligence estimates that more than 15,000 have been killed. Kyiv puts the number significantly higher, at more than 30,000.

US officials said Tuesday that some 20 per cent of Russia’s combat forces in Ukraine - estimated at 150,000 before the war started - are now out of action. That would mean 30,000 killed or wounded in action.

America also believes that Russia has lost more than 1,000 tanks and is struggling to replace them due to sanctions, perhaps explaining why 50-year-old models were recently filmed heading to the front having been taken out of long-term storage.