Formally, the message published Tuesday, July 11 by Ukrainian military intelligence does not contain a claim. The main intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (GUR) is content to recall a few facts, starting with the first: Vladislav Rjitsky, a captain in the Russian army, was killed the day before, in a park in Krasnodar, in southern Russia, hit by several bullets fired into the chest.
This point is hardly debatable. On the same day, Russian agencies themselves confirmed the death of the officer. In charge of organizing mobilization operations for the Krasnodar region, Captain Rjitskiï was above all, in his previous functions, commander of the submarine Krasnodara name well known to the Ukrainian media, which had designated this device as responsible for a Kalibr missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia in July 2022. Result: twenty-seven civilian deaths.
The fact that Ukrainian military intelligence is commenting on this death is already unusual in itself. Even more disturbing, the GUR gives in its presentation of the facts some details which, according to the Russian-language service of the BBC, were hitherto unknown: “On July 10, the submariner was jogging in the park of the Thirty Years of Victory. Around 6 a.m., seven bullets from a Makarov pistol were fired at him. Rjitsky died at the scene. Due to the heavy rains, the park was deserted and no witness can recount the details of the facts or recognize the assailant. »
Jogging tracks on Strava
Clarification, however: if this assailant is indeed on the run, the Russian media broadcast CCTV images on Monday evening showing a man, barely visible under his cap, presented as the murderer. To add to the confusion, another branch of the Ukrainian army, the Directorate of Strategic Communications, claims that the 42-year-old captain was killed “by his own”, because he would have refused to continue his duties leading him to fire on Ukrainian civilian targets. Later, GUR boss Kyrylo Budanov denied his service’s involvement.
Read: Jogging app threatens military base security
A final point draws attention. Vladislav Rjitskiï was a regular user of the Strava jogging application, which makes it possible to record and compare his performances, already questioned in 2018 for having made it possible to identify American bases in the Middle East. The captain posted almost every day, publicly, the details of his journeys on foot or by bike. Several Russian sources note that these routes were very often identical, suggesting that the organizers of his murder may have used the application to find out his position on the morning of July 10.