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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Army Chief Dubynin Dead at 49

Victor Dubynin, the chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces, has died at the age of 49 following a long illness, according to a Defense Ministry spokesman.


A colonel-general and veteran of the Afghan war, Dubynin died Sunday in Moscow. The spokesman, Vasily Zubin, would give no further details of the cause of death.


Dubynin, a career officer, was appointed to the Russian Defense Ministry when it was formed in June 1992, following the breakup of the Soviet Union. In addition to his position as head of the armed forces general staff, he was also first deputy defense minister.


He held command posts in the 40th Army in Afghanistan for three years of the war there, positions for which a Defense Ministry statement prepared on Monday praised him as a "skillful and experienced leader".


Before joining the Russian Defense Ministry, Dubynin oversaw troop withdrawals from Poland, which began in April 1991. He served for two years as commander of Soviet forces in Poland.


In March 1991, Dubynin disclosed that the Soviet Union had been poised to invade Poland in December 1981 to crush the independent Solidarity movement, according to Reuters.


He told a Polish newspaper that only the imposition of martial law on Dec. 13, 1981 by General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Communist leader at the time, had stopped Soviet troops from marching in the following day.


Alexander Yakovlev, a former Soviet Communist Party leader, later refuted the information, but Jaruzelski confirmed it.


Following funeral services, Dubynin will be buried at Novodevichy cemetery, a burial ground reserved for the country's most prestigious military, scientific, and cultural figures.