Russia’s military leadership is “increasingly dysfunctional,” with the war in Ukraine being led by inexperienced officers while Putin’s forces are repelled on the battlefield.
Four out of five top Russian generals have been sacked since the start of the war, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said today, with Sergei Surovikin now in charge.
“Their backup forces have so far done little to improve Russia’s performance on the battlefield,” the Defense Ministry added as Surovikin appeared to be preparing for a retreat from the southern fortress of Kherson.
British spies did not name the four dismissed generals, but one of them is almost certainly Valery Gerasimov – chief of staff last seen in a tense clash with Putin at war games in eastern Russia.
The other three are likely Aleksandr Dvornikov, Surovikin’s predecessor, Gennady Zhidko, former commander of Russia’s southern armies, and Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who led the western grouping.
British spies did not name the four sacked generals, but one of them is almost certainly Valery Gerasimov (pictured) – chief of staff last seen in a tense clash with Putin during the war games in eastern Russia
The other three are likely Aleksandr Dvornikov (above), Surovikin’s predecessor, Gennady Zhidko, former commander of Russia’s southern armies, and Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who led the western grouping
The Defense Ministry’s full update reads: “Eight months into the invasion, key elements of Russia’s military leadership are increasingly dysfunctional.
“At the tactical level, there is almost certainly an increasing shortage of capable junior Russian officers to organize and lead newly mobilized reservists.
“Eyewitness testimony indicates that the shooting of 11 Russian soldiers near Belgorod by another recruit on October 15, 2022 came after an officer made offensive comments towards ethnic minority recruits.
“Poor lower-level leadership is likely to exacerbate the low morale and unit cohesion in many parts of the Russian armed forces.
“Four of the five generals with direct operational command over elements of the February 2022 invasion have now been dismissed. Their replacements have so far done little to improve Russia’s performance on the battlefield.
“The lack of continuity of command is likely to be more disruptive than in a Western military, as the development of plans under Russian doctrine rests largely with the commander personally, rather than as a collective effort by broader personnel.”
Putin is now eight months into what was planned to be a days-long war ending with the collapse of the Ukrainian government.
But instead he has engaged himself in a grueling war of attrition that has ripped his forces to pieces and could yet result in total defeat.
Putin is now eight months into what was planned to be a days-long war ending with the collapse of the Ukrainian government. Pictured: Aleksandr Zhuravlev
But instead he has engaged himself in a grueling war of attrition that has ripped his forces to pieces and could yet result in total defeat. In the picture: Gennady Zhidko
Russia was already being forced to withdraw from the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkiv in northern Ukraine, which were the main targets of the war.
Attacks in the Donbass have proved marginally more successful, but have not resulted in a decisive victory. Instead, they have weakened Putin’s Army of Strength to halt Ukraine’s advances elsewhere.
Kiev’s men now appear poised to regain at least partial control of the southern city of Kherson, while Russian occupation officials begin evacuating civilians.
Volodymyr Saldo, the Kremlin’s man in Kherson, said 60,000 civilians will leave in the next six days – suggesting the city could fall within a week.
Should Russia be forced to withdraw here, it would be the most embarrassing defeat Putin has suffered to date – fueling fears about his response.
There is growing concern inside Russia that he could use today’s emergency Security Council meeting to declare all-out war — giving it sweeping powers to close borders, declare martial law and force more men into the army.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting in the West that he may be arming himself for the first open-air detonation of a nuclear weapon since the 1960s.
Such a blast could take place at a test site in the Russian Far East or over the Black Sea to demonstrate that its stockpile of aging warheads are still functional.