Commander of Russia's Central Military District Colonel General Alexander Lapin has been replaced with Major General Alexander Linkov, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence briefing on Nov. 6.
"If confirmed, this follows a series of dismissals of senior Russian military commanders since the onset of the invasion in February 2022," the ministry wrote. The commanders of the Eastern, Southern, and Western Military Districts were replaced earlier this year.
Yevgenii Prigozhin, Wagner Group founder, and Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov have criticized and blamed Lapin for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Lyman, a key logistic hub in Donetsk Oblast. It was liberated on Oct. 1.
"These dismissals represent a pattern of blame against senior Russian military commanders for failures to achieve Russian objectives on the battlefield," the ministry said.
The new commander, Linkov, had previously served as head of Russia's Central Military District's organizational and mobilization department.