Get Free Updates on the Russian Rebellion
I will send myFT Daily Digest E-mail summarizing the latest information Russian rebellion News every morning.
A Russian general has challenged military leaders over his handling of the invasion of Ukraine, saying he was sacked after accusing him of betraying the army amid the Kiev counteroffensive.
The unusual public criticism came after the Wagner Group launched an unsuccessful uprising last month to remove them, with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Russian invasion force commander Valery Gerasimov angering some in the military. It is a sign that they continue to be targets of
In an audio recording posted by a prominent Russian lawmaker to the social media app Telegram on Wednesday, former commander of the Russian 58th Army, Ivan Popov, described the situation on the front lines in a dire assessment that led military officials to dismiss him. said to have dismissed .
Mr. Popov’s four-minute message to the military was a disastrous end to Mr. Vladimir Putin, even after the Russian president reached an 11-hour agreement to end Wagner’s rebellion, keeping Mr. Shoigu and Mr. Gerasimov in office. It suggests that tensions are still high over the invasion.
He said he had asked military leaders to rotate frontline units, saying the lack of anti-artillery systems and artillery reconnaissance had caused heavy losses in frontline units.
Popov said his unnamed “senior bosses” “clearly felt some kind of mortal danger in me” and fired him.
“As many regimental commanders have said today, the Ukrainian army was unable to break through our front lines, but our superiors attacked us from the rear and betrayed the army at the most difficult and tense moment. I literally beheaded him,” Popov added.
Is Popov referring to his own dismissal, or the fate of other senior Russian commanders who are believed to have held a similar grudge against Shoigu and Gerasimov for months? It is not immediately clear what happened, and some have reportedly lost their jobs for questioning military tactics.
The parliamentarian who posted the recording, Andrei Gurlev, himself a former commander of the 58th Army, said he still has close ties to the Russian military, and publicly acknowledged the death of the lieutenant general earlier this week.
Andrei Turchak, secretary of Putin’s United Russia Party, said Popov’s message was posted on a private chat for soldiers of the 58th Army and was not intended for publication.
“Let’s leave to his conscience the fact that ‘legislator’ Gurlyov somehow got it and turned it into a political show,” Turchak wrote on Telegram. “Ivan’s conscience is clear. The motherland can be proud of a commander like him.”
Senior lawmaker Andrei Kartapov said in an audio message that Popov’s message was “seen and heard and those who need it will take action.”
Before an altercation between Wagner founder Evgeny Prigozhin and the military spiraled out of control in the spring, warlords said several prominent generals sympathized with the militia and publicly thanked them for providing supplies to the group. Said he meant it.
Their most senior deputy commander of the invasion force, Sergey Slovikin, was taken into custody last month following Prigozhin’s uprising and has not been seen since. Kartaporov said on Wednesday that Slovikin was “resting” and “currently absent” without giving details.
Gray Zone, a Telegram channel affiliated with Wagner, was the first to report Popov’s dismissal before Gurlev posted an audio recording.
Gerasimov accused Popov of “spreading disinformation and panic” and dismissed him after the general threatened to try to “tell the president,” the newspaper said.
The Kremlin and the Russian Defense Ministry have not commented on Popov’s apparent dismissal.