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Monday May 27, 2024

Putin removes Shoigu as defence minister

Putin proposed economist Andrey Belousov as Shoigu´s replacement

By AFP
May 13, 2024
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, left, and outgoing defence minister Sergei Shoigu leaving Red Square after the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Thursday. — AFP/File
Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, left, and outgoing defence minister Sergei Shoigu leaving Red Square after the Victory Day military parade in Moscow on Thursday. — AFP/File 

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday 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 devoid of opposition.

Lawmakers in Russia´s rubber-stamp 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.