Vladimir Putin has not openly criticized his long-suffering defense minister amid the war in Ukraine, but the Russian president seemed to make his feelings for Sergei Shoigu abundantly clear on a visit to a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Putin and Shoigu visited the Vishnevsky Central Military Clinical Hospital in Moscow yesterday to greet several servicemen who suffered all kinds of gruesome injuries in the midst of the Kremlin chief’s war in Ukraine.
Upon arrival at the medical center, Putin briskly walked around the group, awkwardly shaking hands, and in some cases bandaging the stumps, of the medically discharged veterans, asking how they were coping and thanking them for their service.
As is typical of such visits, most of the soldiers could not meet their leader’s eyes and instead stared straight ahead, their bodies rigid with anxiety. Neither smiled or seemed particularly pleased to meet their president.
Having completed his round of compliments, Putin once again stood shoulder to shoulder with Shoigu, who waited mutely at the hospital entrance.
As the president approached, Shoigu leaned toward him and appeared to speak a few words, but was met with a wall of silence as Putin quickly turned and stood with his back to the defense minister, ignoring his every word of a characteristic way. icy maneuver.
It comes as Russian troops continue to falter on the front line in Ukraine, and Kiev forces have successfully recaptured ground in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions amid their long-awaited counteroffensive.
Putin turned and stood with his back to the defense minister, ignoring his every word in a characteristically icy maneuver.
Putin awards a medal to a wounded soldier at a Moscow hospital during a visit to greet medically discharged servicemen
Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) meets with military participants of the special military operation in Ukraine at the Vishnevsky Central Military Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia, June 12, 2023.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu has been widely criticized for the failures of his troops in Ukraine.
Shoigu was appointed Russia’s defense minister in 2012 and has been one of Putin’s closest allies for the past decade.
The pair are known to have vacationed together regularly and are believed to have shared a close personal friendship outside of their respective roles.
But Shoigu has no military background, having trained as a civil engineer and serving as emergency situations minister for years before moving on to head Russia’s defense ministry.
Furthermore, Shoigu was never part of Russia’s state security apparatus, experience of which many of Moscow’s political elites have, and thus many analysts questioned his competence as defense minister even before Russian tanks crossed the border into Russia. Ukraine last February.
Since then, Shoigu is one of the few high-ranking military and defense leaders to have somehow retained his position.
Putin has cycled through several army chiefs of staff, demoting or completely removing military chiefs he perceived as incompetent amid staggering troop losses and battlefield failures.
Shoigu has also faced a torrent of angry criticism from Wagner’s boss Prigozhin, who routinely criticizes the Russian army’s failure to support its mercenaries in the fight for Bakhmut and accused the Russian defense minister of withholding ammunition from his troops. troops.
Prigozhin’s Wagner group only last month managed to wrest Bakhmut from Ukrainian hands after months of brutal fighting reminiscent of World War I trench warfare, with tens of thousands killed on both sides.
The mercenary figurehead a few weeks ago posted a video in which he scolded Shoigu and army chief Valery Gerasimov, mocking them and urging them to go to the front and see the failures for themselves.
‘Now part of the settlement of [Berkhivka] already lost, the troops are slowly falling back. What a disgrace!
‘Shoigu, Gerasimov, I urge you to come forward, raise your pistols to your men so they can advance. Come on, you can!
And if you can’t, you will die as heroes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, awards servicemen who fought in Ukraine at the Central Military Hospital named after Alexander Vishnevsky, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, June 12, 2023.
Sergei Shoigu and Vladimir Putin on vacation in Siberia in September 2021
Shoigu has no military background, having trained as a civil engineer and serving as emergency situations minister for years before moving on to head Russia’s defense ministry.
Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, launched several verbal tirades against Putin’s military leaders. He has accused them of ordering his troops to withdraw from their positions and leaving Wagner’s fighters on the front lines unprotected.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Mailar said the country’s troops had recaptured a total of seven villages spanning 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of eastern Ukraine over the past week in the first days of their counteroffensive.
Russian officials did not confirm those Ukrainian gains, which were impossible to verify and could be reversed in the coming and going of the war.
But the Institute for the Study of Warfare, which analyzes a variety of open source information to provide almost daily updates on frontline developments, confirmed that Ukrainian troops had retaken some seven settlements in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk and continued to push back. to the Russian troops around the besieged. Bakhmut city.
Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces spokesman Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty stated that Ukrainian troops continued to counterattack on Bakhmut’s flanks and advanced 250 to 700 meters in unspecified areas on the outskirts of the city, and military bloggers pro-russians He noted that Ukrainian forces continued to counterattack Russian positions to the southwest, north, and northwest of Bakhmut.
The advances have accounted for only small fragments of territory and underscore the difficulty of the battle ahead for Ukrainian forces, who will have to fight meter by meter to recapture roughly a fifth of their country from Russian occupation.
But any counterattacking success enjoyed by Ukraine only serves to highlight the continuing struggles of Putin’s forces, whose progress on Donetsk and the capture of Bakhmut was largely due to the efforts of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner mercenary fighter group, rather than from Moscow’s own regular troops.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.