One of Vladimir Putin’s most famous commanders, Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Lissitzky, has died of a gunshot wound at the age of 48, according to reports.
There are conflicting claims about who was behind his death, with Ukraine claiming he was “liquidated” in retaliation for the infamous massacre of hundreds of its soldiers during their 2014 retreat in the Ilovaisk cauldron.
Russian sources insist that he committed suicide with his gun in his kitchen, in his home city of Stavropol, amid “depression” due to the war in Ukraine.
Lissitzky – the highest medalist of his country, Hero of Russia – was the commander of the airborne assault battalion of the 247th Airborne Assault Regiment.
His death was first announced by Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov who claimed that the Kiev forces had “once again avenged Ilovaisk – they eliminated (…) Dmitry Lissitzky”.
It is understood that the Russian presenter Dmitry Lissitzky (pictured) was killed by a gunshot wound, but the Russian and Ukrainian disagree about who is responsible for his death. The Russians claim he killed himself, while Ukraine says he was “liquidated” in retaliation
Lissitzky – the highest medalist of his country, Hero of Russia – was the commander of the airborne assault battalion of the 247th Airborne Assault Regiment. He was blamed for the notorious massacre of hundreds of its soldiers during their 2014 retreat in the Ilovaisk cauldron. In the photo: pro-Russian rebels near Ilovaisk on August 31, 2014
His regiment suffered “heavy losses” with Russia’s withdrawal from Kharkiv last year and “Lissitzky’s liquidation will seriously weaken the regiment’s combat capability”, Butusov claimed.
But Russian sources say his body was found in his apartment in Stavropol.
Colleagues said that Lissitzky had recently become depressed over a “complaint about his illegal actions against (military) personnel” during the war against Ukraine.
No further details were provided about the alleged complaint.
The ‘Ilovaisk cauldron’ noted the slaughter of at least 366 Ukrainian servicemen and volunteers as they retreated from the encirclement in the Donetsk region in 2014.
He commanded a Russian battalion charged with attacking the Ukrainians during a mutually agreed ceasefire that allowed for a peaceful withdrawal.
He allegedly gave the order to open fire on the Ukrainians as soon as they came out into the open. In addition to the 366 who died, 450 were wounded and 300 captured.
Putin awarded him the Hero of Russia medal in 2015.
Ukrainian forces were able to enter the city of Ilovaisk on August 18, 2014, but were quickly surrounded by pro-Russian rebels affiliated with the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and soldiers from the Russian Armed Forces.
The Ukrainian forces rejected the proposal of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to open a humanitarian corridor to leave the city on the condition that they give up their weapons and vehicles.
On the morning of August 29, Ukrainian soldiers began to leave the city with their weapons, but the Russian side opened fire on them – on the orders of Lissitzky.
The Ukrainian Prosecutor General opened a criminal investigation into the failure of the government forces in Ilovaisk, and the Minister of Defense at the time was forced to resign, at least in part because of his responsibility for the failure of the battle.
Every year, Ukraine celebrates a Day of Remembrance on August 29 – chosen because it was the date that saw the highest number of soldiers killed during the battle.
Meanwhile, in Russia, the Russian soldiers who join the battle are lauded and commonly referred to as the “North Wind” by pro-military figures.
The same Russian unit responsible for the massacre – the 247th Guards Air Assault Regiment – has also been investigated for war crimes carried out in Bucha during Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, which Putin launched in February 2022.
Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers firing a 155mm TRF-1 round at Russian positions, March 27
Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers ride on top of an armored personnel carrier at the front line in Pakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 26
On September 9, 2022, it was reported that the entire unit was destroyed in a swift Ukrainian counterattack in the Kherson region.
A number of prominent Russian military figures have been killed since the war began. As of July 11, 2022, 14 Russian generals have been claimed by Ukrainian sources.
While Russia disputes some of Kiev’s claims, four of them have been confirmed by both sides. Losing even two officers is rare.
Dozens of lower-ranking military leaders were also killed in the fighting.