A seventh Russian general has died in Ukraine, the latest casualty as Russia struggles to maintain its offense in its month-long war against its eastern neighbor.
Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezantsev was killed in a strike at the Chornobaivka airbase near the city of Kherson, according to the BBC. He is the second lieutenant general to die during the war and the second to die at the base, which is being used as a command post; Lt. Gen. Andrei Mordvichev was also killed there last week.
Ukrainian intelligence is actively targeting high-level Russian military officials, a Ukrainian official told The Wall Street Journal. The generals are believed to be using unencrypted means of communication, increasing their vulnerability.
Rezantsev is the second high-level official to be killed in as many days, though not the second by Ukrainians. Officials reported that the Russian commander of the 37th Motor Rifle Brigade was killed by his own troops after it suffered large losses, a sign that morale has shifted among some military factions.
The death comes as Russian forces—and Russian President Vladimir Putin—sought to redefine their version of winning the war as Ukraine maintains its stamina in different regions throughout the country.
Russian forces bombed multiple spots on Lviv Saturday afternoon, its first air strike on the city just 40 miles from the Polish border. The missiles reportedly hit a communications tower et un supermarketthough no casualties have been confirmed yet.
“The Russian army struck at Lviv,” Mayor Andriy Sadovyi wrote on Twitter. “We are waiting for information from the Military Administration. Stay in the shelters.”
The move demonstrated Russia’s flailing efforts to find momentum. A Pentagon official said Friday that Kherson—the first city held by Russian forces following February’s invasion—was “contested territory” due to Ukrainian resistance, according to The New York Times. Russian forces have also largely given up their quest to take the country’s capital Kyiv by ground.
Still, the threat of higher-stakes warfare remains. Russia has repeatedly threatened the use of chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons against anything it believes could be an “existential threat” to its sovereignty, and the US has worried Russia could launch a false-flag operation to justify its claim.
Should Russia resort to such weapons, President Joe Biden said Thursday the US said it would respond depending “on the nature of the use.” The sentiment was echoed by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan Friday to reporters, according to ABC News.
“We are working through contingency planning for a range of different scenarios,” Sullivan said. “In broad terms, I believe that there is convergence around the fundamental nature of how the alliance would respond to these issues.”
Biden had harsher words for Putin Saturday while visiting Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
“He’s a butcher,” Biden said.