• Sun. Apr 2nd, 2023

    Putin fires deputy defense chief Bulgakov amid supply failures


    Sep 24, 2022

    MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin has fired the general charged with managing the Russian military’s faltering logistics operations in Ukraine.

    Gen, Dmitry Bulgakov, deputy defense minister, was removed from his role on Saturday, the Defense Ministry said on Telegram. The ministry said the 67-year-old was “released” to transfer into a new role.

    He will be replaced by Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, who managed Moscow’s brutal siege at the port city of Mariupol.

    Gen. Bulgakov has run the military’s logistics operations since 2008 and was responsible for keeping Russian troops supplied after their deployment to Syria in 2015.

    But observers say he has become sidelined in Moscow in recent months, with many blaming him for the chaotic logistics operations that have dogged Russia’s advance and seen their troops left undersupplied.

    In recent months, the Kremlin has been forced to approach North Korea and Iran — two of its only remaining allies — for new artillery and drone supplies.

    Gen. Bulgakov’s dismissal comes as footage circulated on social media showing newly drafted Russian recruits being equipped with rusty assault rifles.

    Pro-war figures in Russia have welcomed his dismissal and the appointment of Gen. Mizintsev — who was sanctioned by the UK for his role commanding the Mariupol siege — will likely be welcomed by hard-liners.

    Gen. Mizintsev, who was dubbed “the Butcher of Mariupol” by many Ukrainians, also led Russian forces in Syria and was accused of orchestrating a brutal bombing campaign that leveled the city of Aleppo.

    The UK foreign office said he had used “reprehensible tactics” and committed “atrocities” in both the Ukrainian and Syrian conflicts when announcing sanctions against the 60-year-old in March.

    Putin’s personnel changes come amid reports that the Russian leader has taken personal charge of the war effort and has started issuing orders to generals in Ukraine himself.

    US officials told CNN that the increasingly “dysfunctional command structure” in Moscow had forced Putin to take a more active role in the war.

    Last month, UK defense officials suggested that Putin had sidelined his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu after senior defense officials began to mock the top general’s “ineffectual and out-of-touch leadership”.

    Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that Putin had denied his commanders permission to retreat from the southern city of Kherson, where Ukrainian troops are slowly advancing.

    Citing US intelligence sources, the paper said that his refusal to consider a pullback had caused a decrease in morale among Russian troops in the city, who are largely cut off from their supply lines and rely on a series of pontoon bridges to be re-equipped. — BBC

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