Printed on Thu Oct 06 2022 11:51:24 PM

Amid difficult campaign in Ukraine, Putin fires top Russian commanders

International desk

Russian President Vladimir Putin sacked five commanders and one police colonel this week in what is believed to be a reshuffling in the top ranks of Russia‘s armed forces as the country continues to experience unexpectedly heavy losses amid slow progress in its 100-day invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Russian newspaper Pravda, Mr. Putin fired Maj. Gens. Vasily Kukushkin, Alexander Laas, Andrew Lipilin, Alexander Udovenko and Yuri Instrankin. He also sacked police Col. Emil Musin. The newspaper cited a source close to Russia‘s Ministry of Internal Affairs in confirming the report.

Russia has sustained major battlefield losses among its top military leaders in Ukraine since the invasion that began in February. At least a dozen generals are believed to have been killed in the fighting so far.

British intelligence officials said Russia also has likely suffered “devastating losses” among its mid- and junior-ranking officers in the conflict. Russian lieutenants and captains have been forced to lead the lowest level tactical actions as their army lacks the “highly trained and empowered” framework of noncommissioned officers who fulfill that role in Western forces, officials said.

“With multiple credible reports of localized mutinies amongst Russia‘s forces in Ukraine, a lack of experienced and credible platoon and company commanders is likely to result in a further decrease in morale and continued poor discipline,” British defense intelligence officials said on a Twitter post.

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