Putin Moves To Sack Sergei Shoigu As Russia's Defence Minister

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin has concluded plans to oust Sergei Shoigu as defence minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle, making him secretary of the Security Council instead.

According to a statement released by the Kremlin, Andrei Belousov, a former deputy prime minister who specializes in economics, will become the new defence minister.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the cabinet reshuffle comes as Putin begins his fifth term in office.

In line with Russian law, the entire cabinet resigned on Tuesday after Putin’s inauguration in the Kremlin.

Belousov’s candidacy will need to be approved by Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

Shoigu was appointed defence minister in 2012, two years before Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

One of Shoigu’s deputies, Timur Ivanov, was arrested last month on bribery charges and was ordered to remain in custody pending an official investigation. The arrest was widely interpreted as an attack on Shoigu and a possible precursor of his dismissal despite his close ties with Putin.

Read Also: Russia Adds Ukrainian Leader, Zelenskyy To Its Wanted List

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that Putin had decided to give the defence portfolio to a civilian because the ministry should be “open to innovation and cutting-edge ideas” and Belousov was the right fit for the job.

Putin won the March election by securing 87 percent of the vote in a poll that analysts said lacked democratic legitimacy after several candidates opposed to the war in Ukraine were barred from contesting by the Central Election Commission.

The reshuffle came as thousands more civilians have fled Russia’s renewed ground offensive in northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, which has targeted towns and villages with a barrage of artillery and mortar shelling.

The intense battles have forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw as Russian forces seize more territory across less defended settlements in the so-called grey zone along the Russian border.

Africa Today News, New York

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