Russian Commanders Dismissed Over 'Poor Performance' in Ukraine: U.K. MoD

Russian officials have fired several commanders following the nation's "poor performance" in Ukraine, according to the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD said in a Sunday, August 7, tweet that at least six Russian commanders had been dismissed since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion earlier this year.

It said: "The poor performance of Russia's armed forces during its invasion of Ukraine has been costly for Russia's military leadership, highly likely resulting in the dismissal of at least six Russian commanders since the start of hostilities in February 2022."

Putin's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had originally stated the goal of his invasion was to "ensure the demilitarization of Ukraine" and "ensure the denazification of Ukraine."

Western leaders dismissed the Kremlin's rationale and many nations and organizations, including the U.S., U.K. and European Union, have supported Ukraine financially and with military aid.

But while Putin had hoped for the swift capture of Kyiv, the Russian war effort has apparently been mired by failures and the loss of many of its soldiers and equipment.

As a result, Putin scaled back the objective of the war and focused Russia's military to Ukraine's eastern and southern regions, which if successfully held would give the country a land bridge to annexed Crimea.

The MoD said in its tweet that the military blunders most likely resulted in Russia's commanders being fired from their positions.

It read: "The commanders of Russia's Eastern and Western Military Districts have highly likely lost their commands.

"General-Colonel Aleksandr Chayko was dismissed as Commander of the Eastern Military District in May 2022. General-Colonel Aleksandr Zhuravlev, who has commanded the Western Military District since 2018, was absent from Russia's Navy Day in St. Petersburg on 31 July 2022 and has highly likely been replaced by General-Lieutenant Vladimir Kochetkov.

"General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov has subsequently been removed after being given overall command of the operation in Ukraine, and General Sergei Surovikin has assumed command of the Southern Grouping of Forces from General Gennady Valeryevick Zhidko.

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"These dismissals are compounded by at least 10 Russian Generals killed on the battlefield in Ukraine. The cumulative effect on consistency of command is likely contributing to Russian tactical and operational difficulties."

Since the outbreak of the war, Russia has confirmed four of its generals have been killed although Ukraine has claimed more have died, according to the BBC.

Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin for comment.

Vladimir Putin with Russian generals
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L), flanked by Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (R), walks as he takes part in the main naval parade marking the Russian Navy Day, in St. Petersburg on July 31, 2022. The U.K.'s Ministry of Defence claims that several Russian commanders have been fired. Getty

The war in Ukraine has now entered a new phase where Kyiv is "actively shaping" the conflict, according to the Institute of the Study of War a U.S.-based think tank.

It stated that Russian forces appeared to be responding to the Ukrainian counter-offensive threat in the Kherson region rather than deliberately choosing its objectives.

Despite its reported military failures, Russia claimed to rule out the use of nuclear weapons during the conflict.

In a Wednesday, August 3 tweet, Russian United Nations officials said: "We strongly reject the utterly unfounded, detached from reality and unacceptable speculations that Russia allegedly threatens to use nuclear weapons, particularly in Ukraine.

"We don't rule out the possibility that this is done on purpose to fuel anti-Russian hysteria."

The tweet is among a number of statements being made by Russian officials on social media, including the unfounded claim that the U.S. and its allies in Ukraine were somehow involved with the COVID-19 outbreak.