Russian commander of the Western Military District removed for failures in Kharkiv
Russian commander of the Western Military District has been dismissed because of Russia’s military failures in Kharkiv Oblast (Photo:InformNapalm / Telegram)
The commander of the Western Military District of Russia, Alexandr Zhuravlev, has been dismissed because of Russia’s military failures in Kharkiv Oblast, the Ukrainian investigative community InformNapalm reported on Oct. 2.
The new commander of the Western Military District is Lieutenant General Roman Berdnikov, according to InformNapalm.
The main intelligence department of Ukraine reported on Sept. 12 that the leadership of the western group of the Russian army would be removed from command due to the crushing defeats Russian invasion forces suffered during the Ukrainian army counter-offensive in Kharkiv Oblast. It said that Berdnikov was being considered for the post.
Intelligence also reported that in order to restore the "stability of control" of the group, it had been headed by the commander of the Central Military District, Lieutenant General Alexander Lapin, along with his headquarters, while the appointment of Berdnikov was being considered.
However, two weeks later, after the failures of the Russian troops near the city of Lyman, Donetsk Oblast and the likely encirclement of several thousand Russian troops in the city, Lapin himself also became the object of criticism in Russia.
The Kremlin's puppet leader in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, lashed out at Lapin, saying that he had not bothered to arm the units operating in the Lyman region and had moved his headquarters far from the front line. Kadyrov also accused the Russian General Staff, and specifically its chief, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, of covering up Lapin's failures.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of Russia’s Wagner mercenary company, publicly agreed with Kadyrov’s criticisms, saying that the high military command should fight “barefoot with machine guns on the front line.”
Russian "military correspondents" and top propagandists also supported Kadyrov's and Prigozhin's critical assessments of the Russian military command, adding that it is corrupt and uninterested in Russia’s strategic goals.
The U.S. Institute for the Study of War has said such comments indicate there are tensions between the Russian troops operating in Ukraine and their leadership. It said the Kremlin may amplify such criticism in order to create the informational conditions for personnel changes in the top military command in the coming weeks.
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