Kyiv’s mayor, police department post images of explosions in the Podilskyi district of Ukraine’s capital

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A deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, Captain of the First Rank Andrei Paliy, was killed during fighting in the region of the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, two senior Russian officials said.

In a statement on Telegram, Mikhail Razvozhaev, the governor of Sevastopol, said, “Andrei Nikolaevich chose to defend his homeland as his life’s work and died for our peaceful future. In 1993, he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Ukraine, remained loyal to Russia by leaving for [Russia’s] Northern Fleet.”

Sevastopol is the headquarters for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The port city is in Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Ekaterina Altabaeva, a Russian senator from Sevastopol, said on, a popular Russian social network, that the city had “suffered a heavy, irreparable loss.”

According to Altabaeva, Paliy graduated from the Kyiv Higher Naval Political School — a school for political officers of the Soviet navy — and took part in Russia’s 2008 war against Georgia.

“I knew Andrei Nikolaevich personally. An officer with a capital O, a courageous defender of our Motherland, devoted to the oath and to the Navy,” she said. “Andrei Nikolaevich loved Sevastopol with all his heart. His whole life was dedicated to the Hero City.”

Thousands of Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began nearly one month ago, US and NATO officials told CNN this week, and Russia is now struggling to resupply those forces as it faces sagging troop morale and fierce Ukrainian resistance.

US and allied intelligence assessments vary widely as to exactly how many Russian forces have been killed to date, sources familiar with the intelligence tell CNN. But even the lowest estimates are in the thousands.

One such assessment found approximately 7,000 Russian troops have been killed so far, said one of the sources. But that figure, first reported by The New York Times, is on the higher end of US estimates, which vary because the US and its allies have no precise way of counting casualties. Some estimates place the number of Russian troops killed in Ukraine at about 3,000, while others suggest more than 10,000 have died.