Putin removes defense minister Shoigu

Shoigu was appointed Russian defense minister in 2012. (Photo/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved to replace defence minister Sergei Shoigu in a major shake-up to Russia's military leadership more than two years into its Ukraine offensive.

Putin proposed economist Andrey Belousov as Shoigu's replacement, according to a list of the ministerial nominations published by the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament.

Putin simultaneously published decrees naming Shoigu as the new secretary of the Security Council, replacing long-standing Putin ally Nikolai Patrushev.

"Shoigu will continue to work in this sector (defence), which he knows well," state media quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

"He knows it very well from the inside, together with his colleagues and partners at his previous place of work," he added.

Putin is constitutionally required to name a new set of government ministers — or reappoint existing ones — following his victory in a March election.

Lawmakers in Russia's parliament need to approve the president's nominations, which they are set to do on Tuesday.

The major reshuffle comes with Russian forces advancing on the battlefield for the first time in months.

Shoigu was appointed Russian defence minister in 2012.

Despite a string of military setbacks for Russia — including the failure to capture the Ukrainian capital Kiev and retreats from the northeastern Kharkiv and southern Kherson regions — Putin had stood by Shoigu until now.

That included when Wagner paramilitary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a bloody insurrection last year calling for Shoigu's removal.

Belousov, Shoigu's nominated replacement, has no military background. He has been one of Putin's most influential economic advisers over the last decade.


Source: TRT