A Russian general told military leaders about the dire situation on the Ukrainian front that a Russian soldier had been stabbed in the back due to a failure by the military leadership, and said he had been dismissed from command.
After the June 24 uprising by Wagner mercenaries, the biggest domestic challenge for the Russian state in decades, President Vladimir Putin has so far vacated the posts of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. I’m letting you stay.
Major General Ivan Popov, commander of the 58th Allied Forces, said in a voice message released by Russian lawmaker Andrei Gurlyov that he had been sacked for telling the truth about the situation on the front lines.
“The Ukrainian army failed to break through our lines at the front, but our senior commander attacked us from the rear and mercilessly beheaded the army at the most difficult and intense moment,” Popov said.
NATO summit: Biden, Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders could join alliance
Popov, whose military callsign was “Spartacus” and who commanded Russian troops in southern Ukraine, specifically addressed the deaths of Russian soldiers in Ukrainian artillery fire, noting that the army had adequate counter-artillery systems and enemy artillery. said there was a lack of reconnaissance.
The Ministry of Defense was not immediately available for comment, and Reuters was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the voice message. Gurlyov is a hardline former army commander who regularly appears on state television.
It is not clear when the message was recorded, nor is Popov’s current whereabouts. The Ministry of Defense said nothing about his dismissal.
This public criticism of the leadership of the Russian army by a battle-hardened general less than three weeks after Wagner’s Rebellion, if genuine, represents the largest European ground attack since World War II. It would signal continued dissatisfaction within the fighting Russian armed forces.
Putin, Russia’s supreme leader since 1999, said the uprising threatened to plunge Russia into civil war, comparing it to the revolutionary turmoil of 1917.
The Kremlin is trying to stage a calm, but Russian officials and diplomats have told Reuters that the uprising, which Wagner leader Evgeny Prigozhin said was aimed only at ending Shoigu and Gerasimov He said the full results are not yet available.
Neither Mr. Prigozhin nor the deputy commander of Russian military operations in Ukraine, General Sergei Slovikin, have been seen in public since the day of the uprising.
NATO summit ends in Lithuania
Prigozhin had been openly insulting Putin’s top military personnel for months, shocking Russian officials with various vulgar swear words and prison jargon, but Putin, Shoigu Mr. Gerasimov did not respond publicly.
Popov, 48, said his turning point came when he told military leaders the truth.
Rudy Farias: ‘Missing’ Texas man says his mother ‘brainwashed’ him into hiding for eight years
Why Some Russian Allies Are Likely to Withdraw As NATO Grows
“I had a tough situation with my senior bosses where I had to either shut up and be timid or be honest,” Popov said. He did not specify when he filed the complaint.
“I had no right to lie in your name, in the name of my fallen comrades-in-arms, so I explained all the problems that existed.”
In 2017, a Russian military newspaper published a profile of Popov. The newspaper said he had previously served in Russia’s war against separatists in Chechnya and in the 2008 war in Georgia.
A Telegram channel associated with the Wagner Mercenaries reported that Popov, together with Gerasimov, raised the need to replace exhausted troops from the front lines. Reuters could not confirm the report.
Russia’s main state-run TV channels did not report Popov’s remarks on Thursday’s main news program, but Russia’s reputable newspaper Kommersant did.
NATO summit: President Zelensky tells Prime Minister Trudeau that Ukraine needs Canada’s help for membership
Russian war bloggers were divided between those who said Popov’s remarks were an outright disobedience, and those who believed that Popov was not a traitor, but simply a respected general who had fallen out with the higher ups.
“This is a dangerous precedent,” said former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin, who helped Russia annex Crimea in 2014 and subsequently organize pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine.
Popov said his future was no longer uncertain.
“Senior officials clearly sensed some danger to me and in just one day concocted an order from the Minister of Defense to get rid of me,” he said. “I await my destiny.”