VLADIMIR Putin has lost his 43rd Colonel after a failed attempt by Russian troops to cross a river in Ukraine as well as a legendary sniper.
Separately the death was announced of one of Vladimir Putin’s top military snipers, Sergeant Sergei Tsarkov.
Kozlov had only been in his position for two months having just replaced his predecessor, Colonel Serhiy Porohnya, after he was killed in March.
In the attack on the Donets River last week, two battalions were wiped out by the Ukrainians after a failed mission to rescue stranded comrades and kit on the other side of the river.
Russian soldiers and their vehicles had been left trapped in their attempt to cross the waterway after the bridge was blown up by Ukrainian forces.
After the attack, satellite pictures showed a Russian Z tank “graveyard” with 52 vehicles destroyed and an estimated 1,000 troops lost.
The second and third attempts also reportedly ended in failure with images showing a demolished pontoon bridge and half a dozen more military vehicles
Across the four day campaign to cross the river the Russians are estimated to have lost more than 70 tanks and armoured cars.
His troops were forced to retreat from both the capital, Kyiv, and the second biggest city of Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine.
The 38-year-old Tsarkov was commander of a company of snipers, part of the 1st rifle platoon in TransBaikal region, Siberia.
“Sergey Tsarkov served in a sniper rifle company,” said a military source.
“He was the best sniper of the brigade Everyone respected him very much, he was a professional, well-respected.
“No-one could believe that such a thing could happen to him.”
He was a regular winner of international sniper contests at military games held between ex-Soviet countries.
Tsarkov was buried among other war dead in a vast Ukraine war cemetery at Borzya, his hometown, some 4,400 miles east of the warzone in Ukraine.
Rumours also continue to swirl over the Russian President’s health.
It has been claimed he’s suffering from Parkinson’s and that he’s due to undergo treatment blood cancer.