Putin reeling after yet ANOTHER General killed in action by Ukrainian forces in Donbas

Ukraine: Penultimate sortie of Russian pilot Kanamat Botashev

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Major General Kanamat Botashev, 63, was shot down while flying his SU-25 aircraft near Popasna in Luhansk province. The fighter jet was believed to have been hit by a Stinger MANPADS missile fired by Ukrainian forces. The incident is reported to have taken place on May 22 and was captured on video, before being widely disseminated on social media channels.

The 63-year-old was trying to help Russian forces escape an encirclement, according to Lieutenant-General Alexander Maksimtsev – Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces for Military-Political Work.

He was aware that the Ukrainians had strong air defence capabilities in the area, but still decided to conduct an attack at an ultra-low altitude, the Lieutenant-General said.

His fighter jet was subsequently hit by an air-to-surface missile, and he died after having no time to eject from his stricken aircraft.

Botashev was a former regimental commander but had to retire after he decided to take a Su-27 fighter for a joyride and crashed it while performing acrobatics.

Reports suggest he returned to active duty with the Wagner Group, a private militia that is thought to have links with the Kremlin.

The Major General was buried in his home town of Karachayevsk in the Caucasus and was posthumously awarded the title of Hero of Russia by Vladimir Putin.

His death brings the number of Russian generals killed in action to at least ten.

It comes as fierce fighting continues to rage in the city of Severeodonetsk in Luhansk province.

The Ukrainians claimed they had recaptured a portion of the city from the Russians, just days after announcing a strategic troop withdrawal from the city.

Serhiy Haidai, the Governor of Luhansk province, said that the city’s defenders had reclaimed about a fifth of Severodonetsk and could hold on.

He said: ““As soon as we have enough Western long-range weapons, we will push their artillery away from our positions.

“And then, believe me, the Russian infantry, they will just run.”

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron insisted that Russia must not be humiliated if a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine is to be found.

The French President also claimed that Paris would play a leading role in any future peace talks.

He told local media on Saturday: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.

“I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power.”

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However, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said Macron was only humiliating France by trying to appease Putin.

Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.

“Because it is Russia that humiliates itself.

“We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.”

The French President had previously suggested that Ukraine must be prepared to cede territory to Moscow in order to facilitate a peace deal.

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