Putin dismisses Sergei Shoigu from the post of Defense Minister News of the war between Russia and Ukraine

President proposes Andrei Belousov as Minister of Defense and Sergei Shoigu as Secretary of the Security Council.

Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to dismiss Sergei Shoigu from the position of Defense Minister as part of a cabinet reshuffle, and appoint him Secretary of the Security Council instead.

The Kremlin announced on Sunday that Andrei Belousov, a former deputy prime minister and economics specialist, will become the new Minister of Defense.

These changes come as Putin begins his fifth term in office. In line with Russian law, the entire government resigned on Tuesday after Putin’s inauguration in the Kremlin.

Belousov’s nomination needs the approval of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, the Federation Council.

Shoigu was appointed defense 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 ordered to remain in detention pending an official investigation. The arrest was widely interpreted as an attack on Shoigu and a possible prelude to his dismissal despite his close ties to Putin.

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

Putin won the March elections with 87 percent of the votes in a poll that analysts said lacked democratic legitimacy after the Central Election Commission banned several candidates opposed to the war in Ukraine from running.

The cabinet reshuffle came at a time when thousands of civilians fled the renewed Russian ground attack in the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, which targeted towns and villages with a barrage of artillery and mortar shells.

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Intense fighting forced at least one Ukrainian unit to withdraw, with Russian forces taking control of more territory through less-defended settlements in the so-called gray zone along the Russian border.

By Sunday afternoon, the town of Vovchansk, one of the largest cities in the northeast with a pre-war population of 17,000, had emerged as the focal point of the battle.

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