Vladimir Putin PURGES top general over Ukraine war disaster as Russia’s losses now ‘could be as high as 50,000 soldiers’
VLADIMIR Putin has purged his top general over a mass loss of troops in Ukraine as Russia’s losses are now said to be as high as 50,000.
Colonel-General Andrey Serdyukov, 60, was ditched for the devastating “mass casualties” among Putin’s elite paratroopers, it has been alleged.
The speculation comes as a Russian source is said to have suggested the country’s overall losses in Ukraine are close to 50,000 – significantly higher than most other estimates.
Unconfirmed Ukrainian sources cited by Odessa military-civilian spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk claimed that Putin axed Serdyukov and replaced him with Colonel-General Mikhail Teplinsky, 53, also said to be known as the “Butcher of Bucha”.
Serdyukov was sanctioned by Britain over his involvement in the mass killing on civilians in the Kyiv town.
If his axing is true this “would indicate that Serdyukov is being held responsible for the poor performance of, and high casualties, among Russian [airborne] units, particularly in early operations around Kyiv.
“Continued dismissals and possible internal purges of senior Russian officers will likely further degrade poor Russian command and control capabilities and the confidence of Russian officers.”
There has been no indication from Moscow that Serdyukov has been ousted.
The 60-year-old veteran is a ‘Hero of Russia’ – the country’s highest honour – and is seen as one of the country’s best military minds.
Izvestia said he led the operation to annex Crimea from Ukraine in spring 2014.
Russia has kept the number changes Putin has made among commanders during the war which started on 24 February under wraps.
But several sources claim that Putin is personally micromanaging war decisions and wielding the axe on commanders he sees as under performing.
Telegram channel General SVR alleged that the overall Russian army toll in the Ukraine conflict is now 37,592.
Added to this were the alleged losses of 9,457 fighters from private military companies backing the Russian war effort, said the channel.
Additionally, the Russian national guard – which reports directly to Putin – has suffered 1,788 losses, it claimed.
The channel said that these figures had been reported directly to Putin, but provided no evidence of this.
It was not possible to verify this claim.
If correct, it would mean overall military losses of 48,837.
It contrasts with other figures which suggest Putin has lost in excess of 30,000 troops.
Putin unleashed his “legendary” elite forces into Ukraine in March believing he’d seize the capital within 48 hours.
But far from capitulating, Ukraine’s hero defenders crushed the invading forces – forcing a raging Putin to resort to the merciless bombing of civilians.
Taras Kuzio, an Associate Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, says dozens of Russian paratroopers were killed in their doomed bid to take Hostomel airport.
“They (the paratroopers) are sent ahead of the main troops to secure a location so that the main forces can be brought up,” he told The Sun Online.
“In this war, they were flown into Hostomel airport near Kyiv to do this but were all killed.
“Two transport aircraft of paratroopers flying from Belarus to do the same tactic at another airport near Kyiv were shot out of the sky. 300 paratroopers were killed in the 2-transport aircraft.”
The swift takedown of Putin’s paratroopers bungled the initial part of Putin’s invasion, said Kuzio.
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