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ISW: Putin may still be looking to redirect blame for recent Russian military failures in Kharkiv Oblast

by The Kyiv Independent news desk October 4, 2022 6:36 AM 1 min read
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The Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update that Russian news outlet RBK reported on Oct. 3 that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had replaced Colonel-General Alexander Zhuravlev with Lieutenant-General Roman Berdnikov as commander of the Western Military District, whose units had mainly been operating in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.

The ISW said, however, that "Zhuravlev has not been seen for some time, and that Putin has cycled through two commanders of Western Military District units in two weeks."

As the ISW previously reported, "Western Military District units have been operating in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, but without a clear commander."

Assigning a new face to the Western Military District may be an attempt on Putin's part to redirect the increasing anger for Russian losses in Kharkiv Oblast, as well as an attempt to deflect criticism of Colonel General Alexander Lapin, commander of the Central Military District, over recent Russian failures around Lyman.

In the ISW's view, Putin could look to shift the blame for any future Russian losses in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts to Berdnikov.

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