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Putin Replaces Defence Minister Amid Gains Against Ukraine

08:01 AM May 13, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
putin replaces defence minister amid gains against ukraine
Putin Replaces Defence Minister Amid Gains Against Ukraine

Moscow [Russia]: Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Andrey Belousov as Defence Minister, replacing Sergei Shoigu, CNN reported, citing a Kremlin statement on Sunday night.

Notably, Shoigu has been made Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and will also be Putin's deputy in the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation.

This development comes at a time when Moscow has made some gains against Kyiv with the ongoing conflict against Ukraine entered its third year in February.

"Sergei Shoigu was relieved of his post as Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation by presidential decree and was also appointed by decree of the President of the Russian Federation as Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Nikolai Patrushev, the previous Secretary of the Security Council, was relieved of his position and is "due to a transfer to another job," Peskov added.

The Kremlin spokesperson further said that the decision to appoint Belousov as head of the Ministry of Defence is connected with the need to "integrate the economy of the security bloc into the country's economy."

The budget of the Russian military department is already approaching the level of the 1980s, which is "not critical, but...extremely important," he added.

Belousov, who is taking the position at a crucial juncture, has previously served as Russia's first deputy Prime Minister.

65-year-old Belousov held the positions of assistant to the head of state Vladimir Putin on economic issues, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, Director of the Department of Economics and Finance of the Government of the Russian Federation, General Director of the Center for Macroeconomic Analysis and Short-Term Forecasting, and worked at the Russian Academy in 1981-2006 Sciences (until 1991 - USSR Academy of Sciences), as reported by TASS.

The remaining heads of security ministries and services, as well as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, will retain their posts in the government.

Additionally, President Putin also proposed appointing Boris Kovalchuk, as the chairman of the Accounts Chamber, a position that had been vacant for 1.5 years, TASS reported.

It is pertinent to note that Ukraine, too, had a change of guard in its defence set-up as the war entered its third year.

In September last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy replaced Oleksii Reznikov as Defence Minister and nominated Rustem Umerov for the position.

Earlier this year, Ukraine also replaced its Army Chief, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who led the army for close to two years since the start of the war and was replaced by Oleksandr Syrskyi.

The development comes on the heels of recent gains made by Russia on the battlefield, leaving Ukraine in a precarious situation.

Following Russia's move to capture nine villages in a fresh ground assault in a cross-border offensive, Ukraine warned the situation in the northern Kharkiv region has "significantly worsened", reported CNN.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict started on February 24, 2022, after Moscow launched its 'special military operations' against Kyiv. The conflict dragged on for over two years and entered its third year in February.

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