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A retired Russian Air Force major general was reportedly shot down over Ukraine on Sunday.
Kanamat Botashev, 63, is a top Russian military commander and former major general. According to reports coming out of Russia, Botashev was killed over the weekend after his SU-25 attack plane was shot down in Ukrainian airspace. Multiple subordinates confirmed Botashev’s death to the BBC, but requested to keep their identities anonymous.
If the reports of his death are true, Botashev would be the highest-ranking pilot to be killed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The continued resistance to Russian expansion has frustrated Putin’s military — top commanders expected Ukraine to fold easily in the beginning days of the war.
It is not immediately clear why the retired commander was piloting an attack aircraft on the front lines of the conflict.
Both sides of the conflict are experiencing heavy casualties, with Ukrainian civilians in danger alongside invading Russian forces and Ukrainian resistance.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reported 8,533 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 3,942 deaths and 4,591 injuries.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that the U.S. is still a “ways away” from any possible decision on whether to reintroduce U.S. troops to Ukraine.
“At the end of the day, any reintroduction of U.S. forces into Ukraine would require a presidential decision. So we’re a ways away from anything like that,” Gen. Mark Milley told reporters at a news briefing.
Milley did not elaborate regarding whether he was referring to low-level planning for U.S. forces to potentially secure a diplomatic presence in Ukraine or, potentially, for other activities.
Fox News’ Julia Musto contributed to this report.