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Putin Has a Problem: He Keeps Firing General Who Can’t Win in Ukraine

Ukraine M777. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
On Friday, Canada joined France in announcing the delivery of heavy artillery to Ukraine.

On day 164 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military hasn’t managed to achieve anything significant in the Donbas, in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces continue to push in the south toward Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Russian Casualties

The Russian military continues to sustain heavy casualties in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 42,200 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 223 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 191 attack and transport helicopters, 1,805 tanks, 958 artillery pieces, 4,055 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 260 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,978 vehicles and fuel tanks, 132 anti-aircraft batteries, 750 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 86 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 182 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Russian Military Leadership

In its latest estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on how the conflict and the poor performance of the Russian military have affected the Russian high command.

“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,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

At least ten flag officers and dozens of field-grade officers have been killed in the conflict so far. But the war has affected those still alive too, with several losing their jobs or being placed under house arrest.

“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,” the British Ministry of Defense said.

The Kremlin has changed commanders several times since the start of the war, but despite the changes in personnel, the Russian military is still struggling to achieve its primary objectives in Ukraine, clearly suggesting that poor leadership is just one of the problems that plague the Russian military machine.

“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,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

“General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov has subsequently been removed after been given overall command of the operation in Ukraine, and General Sergei Surovikin has assumed command of the Southern Grouping of Forces from General Gennady Valeryevich Zhidko,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

“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,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.