Purge in the Russian army: doubts grow over the fate of two generals

Purge in the Russian army: doubts grow over the fate of two generals

Where are they? Two senior Russian army officers did not appear in the Military parade of May 9 in Moscow are neither on the list of officers killed in the war nor on the list of missing persons. Everyone thinks they’ve fallen in “purge” that the president Vladimir Poutine sparked since he began his hitherto ill-fated invasion of Ukraine. A war that he leads personally.

Britain’s intelligence services released their daily report, through the Ministry of Defence. believes that Russia has fired top commanders for “poor performance” during the invasion of Ukraine, amid an emerging culture of “cover-up and scapegoating”.

Lieutenant General Serhiy Kisel, who commanded the elite 1st Guards Tank Army, was suspended for not having caught Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, the UK Ministry of Defense said.

Authorities also believe that Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, who commanded the Russian fleet of the Black Seawas suspended after sinking of the Moskvathe flagship, in April.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, is expected to stay on, intelligence said. Although it’s unclear if he “still retains President Putin’s confidence.”

Earlier in the week, a Western military source said Gerasimov and Putin were suspected of taking low-level tactical decisions, the kind normally decided by a colonel or brigadier.

The source said Gerasimov was “up and running” after rumors he was injured in Ukraine when Ukrainians attacked a command post and then suspended. He also did not show up at the military parade to celebrate the triumph of the Russians over the Nazis in Berlin.


Russian soldiers patrol a destroyed part of the Mariupol steel plant, after the surrender of Ukrainian forces. Photo: AP

Britain’s assessment

The UK Ministry of Defense said that “in recent weeks Russia has sacked senior commanders who are seen to have performed poorly in the early stages of its invasion of Ukraine. A culture of cover-up and scapegoating is likely prevalent within the Russian military and security establishment.”

“Such a culture could impact Russia’s combat capability,” he added.

The Department of Defense said many officials involved in the invasion of Ukraine “are likely to become increasingly distracted by efforts to avoid personal blame for Russia’s operational setbacks.” .

“This is likely to put additional pressure on Russia’s centralized command and control model, as officers increasingly seek to defer key decisions to their superiors. It will be difficult for Russia to regain the initiative under these conditions,” British officials said.

What is the United States saying

U.S. defense officials, meanwhile, said Russia seemed to lower its ambitions, with ever smaller and more localized offensives. One officer said they were seeing a “reduction in offenses and targets” and were using smaller units.

Overall, Russian progress is “fairly limited”, with troops advancing perhaps a few miles each day, a US official said.

The Russian attacks in the eastern region of Donbass they were called “futile” by the Center for Defense Strategies (CDS), a Ukrainian think tank, due to their lack of manpower.

The expert group noted that Russia currently has 105 tactical groups battalion in Ukraine, each of them of different sizes. But they usually include up to 900 troops each. Twenty of them have arrived in the past three weeks.

For a successful offensive in Donbass, which covers the region between the city of Izyum and Vuhledar further south, they must have at least 68 tactical groups, he said. The CDS did not say how many it had in the region, but said Ukraine had about 48 battle groups there. “These numbers explain the futility of Russian actions in the region,” he said.

The Russians advance in Ukraine.  /AFP

The Russians advance in Ukraine. /AFP

General Sir Richard Barrons, a retired British military commander, said the well-established Ukrainian defensive positions would be “really difficult to overcome”. Experts have spoken of the need for a balance of power in a frontal assault of at least five to one, if not seven to one.

The Russians are also digging in their positions in the east and building fortifications while replenishing their stocks and they try to improve their tactical positions.

Endurance

Members of Ukraine’s underground resistance to President Putin’s invasion have murdered two senior Russian officials in the occupied city of Melitopol, according to Ukrainian sources.

The bodies of two Russians were found Monday next to the boiler of a building in the city center, according to the Ukrainian organization which coordinates the resistance in the occupied zones.

“In Melitopol, the guerrillas eliminated high-ranking Russian servicemen,” the Ukrainian regional command said. “The occupiers are trying to cover up the situation. But the Russian military began to intensify inspections of private vehicles in the city today, likely looking for guerrillas,” he said.

The latest deaths bring the total number of murders in Melitopol to 100, the Ukrainian Center for National Resistance said. He said he had at his disposal “trained and experienced” soldiers to carry out a guerrilla war.

Russian forces responded by multiplying checkpoints on the city’s roads.

An assault rifle near where the remains of suspected Russian soldiers were found, outside Kharkov, Ukraine.  Photo: AFP

An assault rifle near where the remains of suspected Russian soldiers were found, outside Kharkov, Ukraine. Photo: AFP

Melitopol, a town in southern Ukraine about 90 kilometers north of Crimea, has been occupied by Russian troops since the first days of the invasion in late February.

Moscow tried to pretend that Ukrainian civilians were grateful to have been freed from “Nazi governmentin Kyiv, frequently showing images on state television of soldiers handing out food and medicine parcels.

However, this narrative has been undermined by stories of defiance emanating from the occupied territories of southern Ukraine, which appear to be on the brink of economic collapse.

In recent weeks, graffiti of Ukrainian flags have appeared on buildings around Kherson, in protest against the Russian occupation.

In March, Ukrainian protesters risked their lives by taking to the streets of Melitopol and securing the release of the city’s mayor, days after he was kidnapped by Russian troops.

Businesses in the city, known as the “gateway to Crimea”, are closed. Inflation was galloping, according to the Zaporizhzhya regional military administration, which is responsible for the region. Russian troops levied an additional 30% tax on the profits of local businesses.

Paris, correspondent

BC

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