Saturday, March 18, 2023

Putin Purge? 39 Top Russians Dead by ‘suicide,’ COVID and ‘shaman rites’; North of Bakhmut, Another Key Battle Tests UKR's Defences; UKR Forces Strike RU Command Post and Radar Stations; UKR’s Armed Forces Sets Out What Weapons It Needs to Defeat RU, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Putin purge? 39 top Russians dead by ‘suicide,’ COVID and ‘shaman rites’:
It’s a particularly deadly time to be on Russian President Putin’s bad side — 39 bodies, piled up since war broke out in Ukraine, collectively underscore the point.
Just this month, two former bigshots bit the dust.
Sergey Grishin, a financial fraudster and oligarch who sold Harry and Meghan their Montecito, California, mansion for $14.7 million, perished from sepsis on March 6.
Coincidence or not, this happened after he criticized Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Virologist Andrey Botikov — who helped develop the controversial Sputnik V Covid vaccine — went in a less subtle manner on March 1: He fell victim to a belt around his neck.
Energy bosses, politicians and outspoken critics are among those who have paid the ultimate price.
Putin and leaders of Russia’s bloodthirsty Kremlin, according to Russian expert Jon O’Neill, have their fingerprints on at least some of the deaths that range from the mysterious to the gruesome to the seemingly accidental.
“Putin does not want to murder people directly,” O’Neill, co-author of “The Dancer and the Devil: Stalin, Pavlova and the Road to the Great Pandemic,” told The Post. “If he does, he gets exposed all over the world. He wants people appearing to kill themselves or seeming to die from unusual diseases. Putin wants to kill people on a deniable basis. --->READ MORE HERE
North of Bakhmut, another key battle tests Ukraine's defences:
From a small, non-descript house in a badly bombed village in eastern Ukraine, Andrii "Tuman", who goes by his call sign meaning "fog", commands his battalion around the clock to hold intensifying Russian attacks at bay.
What Ukrainian forces have long described in the city of Bakhmut is also playing out to the north in Luhansk region - more Russian troops, weapons and aggressive tactics that Moscow hopes will produce a badly needed breakthrough.
Medics reporting to Tuman described heavy casualties in recent weeks, further evidence that the grinding warfare along the front that runs across eastern and southern Ukraine is coming at a high cost to both sides.
The rumble of distant shelling is a constant backdrop as soldiers speed through the village on armoured personnel carriers, while at his base - its windows blacked out - Tuman calls out coordinates for artillery strikes.
"Since the beginning of February, they (the Russians) have conducted something like 40 to 50 attempted assaults," the 45-year-old told Reuters in between relaying messages over his radio.
"We have repelled them all," added the commander, who identifies himself as Ichkerian, using the historic name for Russia's southern region of Chechnya where he fought in two wars. He rejects Moscow's control over the territory.
Tuman, a stocky figure with a wispy beard, fears the pincer movement that Russian forces are attempting in Bakhmut to surround Ukrainian troops defending it could be repeated, on a larger scale, in his sector of the front.
He said the Russians had switched the direction of attack recently, apparently with the intention of taking the road to Lyman - a town under Ukrainian control that lies to the west of Kreminna, thus forming the top of a pincer. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Ukrainian forces strike Russian command post and radar stations – General Staff+++++

+++++Ukraine’s Armed Forces sets out what weapons it needs to defeat Russia+++++

Russian invaders losing offensive potential, military says

Ukraine's border guards stop two assault groups of Russians in Bakhmut

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Ukraine's Zelenskiy: Command unanimously favours defending Bakhmut

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