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Russia has appointed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin as the new chief of staff of its ground forces, Reuters reported, citing Russian state-controlled media TASS.
In late October, Russian media announced that Lapin had been replaced as Commander of Russia’s Central Military District amid criticism of his decision to withdraw troops from Lyman. On Nov. 6, the U.K. Defense Ministry added that he had been replaced by Major General Alexander Linkov.
Yevgenii Prigozhin, Wagner Group founder, and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov have criticized Lapin for the way he commanded Russian troops in Ukraine.
In particular, he was blamed for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Lyman, a key logistic hub in Donetsk Oblast and the "gate" to the occupied Luhansk Oblast. On Oct. 1, Ukrainian forces liberated the city, which had been occupied since May.
Lapin was also among those who planned Russia's operations in Ukraine's Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv oblasts that are now liberated from the Russian forces.