Vladimir Putin's top military commander has been flown out of the war zone with shrapnel wounds after being to sent to Ukraine by the Russian president to secure victory, a former Russian internal affairs minister has claimed.
Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, was wounded in Izyum in Ukraine's Kharviv region, which has been at the centre of intense fighting since Russia's invasion.
Putin had sent Gerasimov to the region to take personal control of his push to grab territory in Donbas and eastern Ukraine.
Kharviv is also where Major General Andrei Simonov, 55, was killed, according to Alexey Arestovych, an adviser to president Volodmyr Zelensky. He is Russia's ninth general to have been killed since the start of the invasion.
An unofficial Russian source reported that Gerasimov sustained 'a shrapnel wound in the upper third of the right leg without a bone fracture.
'The shard was removed - there is no danger to life,' he said.
Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian army, was wounded in Izyum in Ukraine's Kharviv region, which has been at the centre of intense fighting since Russia's invasion
Valery Gerasimov (L), Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu look on during a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin
Ukrainian government official Anton Gerashchenko said the attack on Izyum was 'the very place where…Gerasimov, who personally came to lead the attack on Slavyansk, was located'.
A 'large number' of senior officers were killed, he said.
Pro-Ukr Telegram channel Vertikal said Gerasimov had been 'wounded near Izyum'.
'Our source reports that his legs and hips are damaged,'